Robotic knee replacement

Health Watch

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Every year, 700,000 Americans get their worn-out knees replaced. Experts predict those numbers will continue to grow. By the year 2030, as many as 1.28 million Americans will get new knees every year. These days, improvements in parts, technology and surgery mean longer lasting replacements opening the way for younger patients to feel relief.

Fifty-three-year-old Lisa Rivardo oversees a busy dental practice. She’s back and forth from her office to the exam rooms 100 times a day.

“I’m up more than I’m down,” explained Lisa.

Years of working out and constant activity took a toll on her knees. Two years ago, the pain became unbearable. The right knee was bad, the left was worse.

“It felt like it wasn’t in its socket,” Lisa continued.

Lisa tried ice, pain relievers, cortisone injections, and gel therapy. Nothing worked. David P. Fowler, MD, an orthopedic specialist at UPMC, felt Lisa would be a good candidate for knee replacement using a system called Mako SmartRobotics. Doctors use a CT scan to build a 3D model of a patient’s knee, then personalize surgery based on a patient’s anatomy.

“When we open the knee, we digitize certain points on the patient’s knee that gets sent wirelessly to the computer,” shared Dr. Fowler.

With new materials and technology helping align the knees, Dr. Fowler said these replacements could last up to 30 years.

“Just like those tires being perfectly aligned. Your tires don’t wear out as quickly. We’re hopeful that that’s true with the knee replacements as well,” Dr. Fowler stated.

Dr. Fowler replaced both of Lisa’s knees with the Mako system. Now, a year later, she’s pain-free.

“I am very much looking forward to being able to walk my dog this year,” smiled Lisa.

Getting Pikachu off the couch and out the door with her.

At one time, knee replacements were reserved for patients 65 and older because the replacement parts would only last about ten to 15 years. Now, with parts lasting 20 to 30 years, many younger patients may be candidates for replacement.

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