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St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron Introduces Innovative Robotic Arm Guided Knee Surgery
Minimally invasive robotic arm procedure treats early to mid-stage osteoarthritis, and can result in a more rapid recovery than traditional total knee replacement surgery.
Port Huron, Mi…St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron announced today that it is the first hospital in region, and only the second in the state of Michigan, to perform MAKOplasty®, a new, minimally invasive robotic partial knee resurfacing procedure used to treat early to mid-stage osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. MAKOplasty®, powered by the RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic system, offers a more precise and consistent result for partial knee resurfacing and is less invasive than its total knee replacement alternative.
“This is one more example of the innovative and substantial financial investment that we at St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron are making to elevate the health status of this community,” hospital President and CEO Peter Karadjoff said. “It is because of the breadth and depth of the orthopedic surgeons in this community, especially the work of Dr. Gerald Jerry that MAKO specifically contacted St. Joseph Mercy about providing this innovative procedure.”
Karadjoff said a total of 10 surgeons, including Gerald Jerry, MD, are performing the new surgery.
“Patients now have the highest and best technology available to them with the accuracy of no other technique out there,” Jerry said about the new robotic surgery. “MAKO designs unique implant components for use in this procedure. So, what we are getting here is leading edge technology for implant knee restoration.”
MAKOplasty® is an early intervention treatment option for osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. The leading cause of disability worldwide, OA is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of joint cartilage.
“This procedure is performed before it is necessary for a total knee replacement, when only a portion of the knee is affected by OA. As a result, a patient could potentially get another 10 to 15 years out of the knee prior to the need for a total joint replacement,” Jerry said.
Patients of this new MAKOplasty® procedure can experience numerous benefits of the procedure, including a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery and a smaller incision compared to total knee replacement. It also can be performed on the inner, top or outer compartment of the knee as well as a bi-compartmental procedure on both the inner and top portions of the knee.
“Unlike a total knee replacement,” commented Edward Nebel, MD, another of the 10 certified surgeons, “this procedure allows the patient to retain their ligaments in the knee that are critical for balance.
“This is a resurfacing surgery, not a resection, and there is a big difference,” he said. “It means it is bone and ligament sparing with less scarring.”
Scott Heithoff, DO, one of seven surgeons from Orthopedic Associates, PC, performing the procedure, said another advantage is the pre-surgical plan detailing the technique for preparation and customization of the implant.
“Everything is mapped out ahead of the surgery, so it is being done in conjunction with a computer, making everything visible and precise,” he said. “The surgeon knows the exact size of the implant and the exact position for the implant, which results in better tracking on the femur and tibia. The robotic arm system doesn’t do the surgery, but assists the surgeon with a new level of precision.”
All of this, Heithoff said, can result in greater mobility for the patient after recovery.
“Partial knee replacements have been available for a long time, but not with the precision that this new procedure provides,” he said. “This allows us to take a middle-aged person with a problem in one compartment of the knee, or even two, and fix them and get them back on their feet in much quicker time like we never have before.”
The addition of the robotic assisted surgery puts Port Huron back in the leadership seat in pioneering new surgical methods. Recognized throughout the world for his achievements in orthopedic research, it was in Port Huron where Dr. Charles O. Townley developed the Total Articular Replacement Arthroplasty of the hip in the 1950s, a conventional total hip replacement in the 1960s, and the world’s first anatomically-oriented artificial total knee in 1972.
“Dr. Townley was all about mimicking anatomical alignment when he pioneered the knee replacement, which is why he was so successful,” Nebel said. “This computer assisted robotic technology does the same thing in allowing the surgeon to get the best alignment of the implants to the knee.
“Instead of patients considering leaving the community for surgery, this will bring people to Port Huron again just like when Dr. Townley began doing knee replacement surgery,” concluded Nebel.
“A number of the surgeries have already been performed, and new cases are being scheduled on a regular basis,” said Karadjoff. “As a not-for-profit hospital, St. Joseph Mercy is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, compassionate care to the community. As the area’s leader in providing orthopedic and joint replacement services, we look forward in working collaboratively with our surgeons for the success of this important program.”
For a referral to one of the qualified surgeons currently accepting MAKOplasty® partial knee resurfacing at St. Joseph Mercy, please call toll free: 1-888-MERCYME (1-888-637-2963).
A blessing and community launch unveiling the new MAKOplasty® Robotic Arm Assisted Arthroplasty Program is planned from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 24 in the St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron Baggot Street Café (cafeteria). The event will include mini demonstrations of how the new procedure works.
Surgeons Currently trained and certified to perform MAKOplasty® knee restoration:
- Gary Doss, DO, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- Rajesh Makim, MD, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- David Ernst, DO, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- Todd Murphy, MD, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- Scott Heithoff, DO, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- Edward Nebel, MD, Nebel Orthopedics, PC
- Gerald Jerry, MD, Bone & Joint Institute, PC
- Neil Pasia, DO, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- Wilmont Kreis, MD, Orthopedic Associates, PC
- Cory Zieger, MD, Bone & Joint Institute, PC