Robotic Knee Surgery

8/1/2008 MIAMI, Fla. Judy Turner has no problem keeping up. For the past 26 years, she's been camping, hiking and biking with the Girl Scouts. But for the last year, painful osteoarthritis in her knee made it difficult.

"It, it got really hard. I mean I couldn't, certainly couldn't run and walking, I was always afraid I was going to trip," Turner says.

Fed up, Turner sought help. And just three weeks ago, she underwent partial knee resurfacing -- from a robot!

"It acts like new cartilage. It works very well. It alleviates the pain, the swelling, the deformity and really can cure the symptoms of arthritis," says Richard Levitt, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Doctors Hospital in Miami, Fla.

Using a small, three to four inch incision, the Mako makes exact cuts in the bone and tissue, then places an implant to cushion the bones by replacing missing cartilage -- all more precisely than a doctor's hands.

"The more precisely the implant is put in the knee, the better the results and the longer the implant will last," Dr. Levitt says.

He says with this technique, the implant should last at least 10 to 15 years. Because the incision is smaller and the surgery less invasive, recovery time is faster than traditional surgery -- Turner was back on her feet the day after her surgery!

"I was surprised," she says. "I didn't think I would be walking that quickly, though he told me I would."

The Mako is only for patients needing partial knee resurfacing, though Dr. Levitt says the technology should be available for full knee resurfacing in the next few years.

Richard Levitt, M.D.
Orthopedic Institute of South Florida
(786) 308-3350
MAKO Surgical Corp.

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