Robotic technology easing pain for knee surgery patients at Bolivar, Mo. hospital

Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 7:24 AM CST
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Total knee replacement surgery is an intense operation with a painful recovery. However, a unique robot is making the process much easier for patients in the Ozarks.

The new innovative technology is called the Stryker Mako Robotic- Arm. Citizens Memorial Hospital (CMH) in Bolivar is the first, and one of the only hospitals in Southwest Missouri to offer this technology right now.

The Mako System can provide patients with a personalized experience based on their specific needs through a pre-operative surgery plan. The plan is drawn up with a CT-scan 3D model of bone anatomy. The robotic- arm can help identify the size, orientation, and alignment for each patient's new knee.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Gray said studies show the new robotic arm is making a positive difference. He said it could help patients with faster recovery and longer-lasting replacement parts.

Dr. Gray says while the technology sounds cool, some tend to get afraid of the term robot. He said he likes to answer all questions and clear up any misconceptions patients may have, one being, how the arm operates during surgery.

"The robot can not function alone; it has to have a surgeon there present," explained Dr. Gray. "So I'm there actually doing the surgery. The robotic arm is what's helping me execute the plan we placed for the patient pre-operatively."

Patient Leslie Dickerson recently underwent surgery with the robotic arm. While she wasn't worried or turned away by the term robot, she said Dr. Gray helped her get a better understanding of it. Dickerson explained the surgery as being quick, interesting, and unique. Dickerson says she's happy to escape her old knee pain finally and looks forward to a new way of life.

"I'm looking forward to being able to walk long distance pain-free," said Dickerson. " Not needing steroid shots anymore. Just being able to walk pain-free."

CMH is looking to expand the Mako System to hip replacements soon.

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