Total Knee Replacement

Knee-replacement surgery is a medical procedure for replacing a damaged or worn-out joint with an artificial substitute made of metals, polymers, and plastics. Knee replacements are increasingly common and have proven to be among the safest and most effective procedures of their kind. A robot-assisted knee replacement is simply one in which the surgical team utilizes a medical robot during the operation.

Candidates for knee-replacement surgery include individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or discomfort and stiffness resulting from physical injury. Pain, swelling, and joint locking are symptoms of these conditions. Persons who might be particularly suited for robot-assisted knee surgery are those with:

  • Advanced cases of osteoarthritis
  • Direct damage to the knee joint
  • Complications arising from previous procedures or surgical insertions

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

It is important to note that robotic surgery does not mean being operated on by a machine, rather than a fellow human. Robotic surgery is robot-assisted surgery, where the robot is a group of tools used by a surgeon and his or her medical team to aid in the procedure. These tools are called robots because they mimic human motions and movements, sometimes with greater precision than we’re capable of. Robotic surgery offers the following benefits:

  • Greater surgical precision, with customized incisions and bone remodeling
  • Enhanced implant fit
  • Reduced hospital stays
  • Quicker recovery times
  • Shorter periods of physical therapy
  • Faster return to normal living

How Does Robot-assisted Surgery Work?

At Baptist Health, robot-assisted knee replacements are performed with the aid of medical systems developed by Zimmer Biomet, Smith+Nephew, and DePuy Synthes, a trio of leading healthcare technology firms.

A critical component of robotic knee replacement occurs prior to the start of surgery. A CT scan of the knee is uploaded to the surgical robot where it serves as the operating plan for the procedure. It creates a three-dimensional diagram of the knee that guides the surgeon during the operation. He or she use real-time video feedback to make to tiny adjustments to that plan, once the procedure is underway. At the same time, the robot limits deviations from the plan, as a precautionary measure against possible error.

The removal of damaged cartilage and bone, as well as the insertion of the artificial joint, are conducted by the surgeon using a robotic arm. The robot also ensures proper alignment of the insert, with the goal of providing the patient with a “natural feeling” joint without pain, stiffness, or a sense of imbalance.

Joining the surgeon and the robot in the operating room are the entire surgical team, including the anesthesiologist, the nurses, and a second surgeon or surgical assistant for moving the robot into positions that aren’t mechanically controlled. 

What to Expect with Robot-assisted Surgery

You should prepare for robot-assisted knee surgery the way you would any joint-replacement procedure. Discuss with your physician any medically necessary steps beforehand. You’ll be anesthetized and given pain medication during the procedure. The length of your hospital stay following surgery will depend on a variety of factors. Patients are sometimes able to go home within 24 hours of the surgery. You’ll be provided with a pain-management plan. Expect limited mobility until you’ve adjusted to and gained confidence in the replacement joint. Physical therapy will be an integral part of that adjustment.

Know Your Risk

Baptist Health is committed to being a leading medical provider of robot-assisted diagnosis and surgery in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. If you have questions or concerns about your knee and joint health, take our online Health Risk Assessment.

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Knee and Hip Joint Pain

Wondering what your knee and hip pain means? Or what you can do to alleviate that pain? Take this knee and hip assessment to find out how well your joints are functioning and how joint pain affects your quality of life.