Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Darin Leetun and Dr. Jeremy Gardner spend hundreds of hours each month in the operating room at Altru Specialty Center. They fix knees, hips, shoulders and elbows, making sure each joint is either brand new or good as new when their patients go home. It’s precise work, and every detail matters. That’s why we’ve added a new member to the team – the Mako™ Robotic Arm. The Mako will assist Dr. Gardner with total hip replacement surgeries and Dr. Leetun with partial knee replacements. It will serve as their “right hand man,” helping to ensure that each procedure is completed with incredible accuracy and patients leave with a new joint that feels like a pain-free version of their original joint.
The Mako has a big role to fill in the operating room, and Drs. Leetun and Gardner are confident it’s up to the task. We sat down with the Mako to get to know it a little better.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a state-of-the-art robotic arm that’s committed to helping Altru’s orthopedic surgeons fix hips and knees. I am not the captain of the OR; I’m the assistant captain, the skipper, if you will. The surgeons I work with lead the surgery, I assist them in the pre-planning and keep a watchful eye during the procedure to make sure they are sticking to our game plan.
Q. If you are the skipper, do you wear a hat?
No, I don’t have a head. Just an arm.
Q: How exactly do you help in the pre-planning for a procedure?
Each patient is unique, and their joints are too. Anatomical differences can be hard to maneuver in traditional manual replacements. I create a 3-D model of the patient’s anatomy, enabling surgeons to develop a pre-surgical plan that customizes implant size, positioning and alignment specific to each patient’s needs. This better prepares the surgeon, setting them up for a shorter yet more accurate procedure.
Q: What’s your role during the procedure?
I provide real-time data, 3-D visualization and audible, tactical feedback, ensuring that the surgeon can operate precisely according to the patient-specific plan. In turn, the replacements are more accurately placed, with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue and bone.
Q: How do patients benefit from these procedures?
The level of accuracy provided offers many benefits for patients. For partial knee replacements, the patients leave with a very small incision and minimal damage to healthy tissue and bone. Those with hip replacements are less likely to have dislocations or leg length imbalances after surgery compared to a manual replacement. Both procedures offer less pain, quicker recovery and a more natural feeling joint.
Q: So, it sounds like you must be the star of the show at Altru Advanced Orthopedics?
Hardly! Our surgeons are highly trained specialists with years of experience under their drawstrings. And, our team works together seamlessly to provide the highest level of care from your first appointment through recovery. Not to mention, we also offer many other advanced procedures: cartilage restoration, hand surgery, signature system shoulder replacement and anterior approach hip replacement, to name a few. The team at Altru Advanced Orthopedics is continually upgrading procedures and technology to offer the best care available, and I am proud to be one of the tools in their tool belt.
If you are living with achy knees or sore hips, replacement with the Mako™ Robotic Arm might be right for you. Learn more at altru.org/jrc.