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Your Health: Targeted Knee Surgery

WTVQ—Lexington, Ky.—June 30, 2008

Partial knee replacement is a surgical option that is attractive to patients whose knee damage is too limited to warrant a total joint replacement. However, this option has not been popular in the past until recently, when medical advancements in robotics have decreased the amount of bone removed in the procedure — thereby making it less difficult and risky for the patient.

"So you have to modify your operation so that you take away the pathology, but do so in a way that allows the bones to conform to a new prosthesis," said Dr. Andrew Pearle, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The robotic assistance provides a new level of accuracy to the surgery that prevents excess bone from being shed.

"You get incredible confidence once you've made your plan, that you can take that plan and execute it, and that's where the robot really comes into play," Pearle said. "And as you burr out bone on your 3D model, the robot is actually burring out bone in the patient."

The accuracy of the robot is complemented by an auto-shut off feature that will stop burring out bone if the robot strays even a millimeter from the outlined surgical plan.

"It essentially is a fancy way to prevent you from drawing outside the lines, if you will."

The robot-guided surgery, called MAKOplasty, is currently only available at a limited number of hospitals, including Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

This story originally appeared on WKOW-TV in Madison, WI.


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