Doc Talk: Mako robot makes surgeries more precise, efficient


A new addition at Ascension Borgess Hospital is taking traditional joint replacement surgery to a new level of precision.

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Miladore, showed off the piece of equipment called the Mako robot. He said the Mako is designed to make total-knee, partial-knee and hip-replacement surgeries more efficient and precise.

Miladore showed Newschannel 3 that in the event of a knee replacement surgery, the Mako robot, sensors placed on the knee and a monitor allow the surgeon to position and manipulate the components being put in the knee. In doing so, the process ensures the components and ligaments are completely balanced, which Miladore said is exactly what patients want.

“We’re trying to reproduce patient-specific anatomy, and so we can modify the component position to match your anatomy perfectly,” Miladore said.

Total knee replacements in the United States are expected to increase 189 percent by 2030, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. However, studies have shown that about 30 percent of patients are dissatisfied after conventional surgery.

Through CT-based, 3D modeling of bone anatomy, doctors can use the Mako system to create a personalized surgical plan based on a patient’s unique anatomy and to virtually modify the surgical plan intra-operatively as needed.

Once it’s time to do the implant, Miladore said all of the elements of the Mako system let him and other surgeons make a perfect, guided cut to the bone, without error.

“We have our plans at our fingertips in the operating room, to modify as we see fit and to make changes,” Miladore said. “Then, what the robot allows us to do, is make those changes with more accuracy and without going outside the boundaries.”

He said he is excited about the technology and believes this tool will help give the patient more range of motion, less pain and overall a better outcome. He also said the Mako will let surgeons accomplish things they couldn’t before.

“Our brains can only function at such a high level and we need the robot to help take it to the next level and that’s what this is meant to do," he said.

Currently, five surgeons at Ascension Borgess Hospital are certified on the Mako robot. Since the hospital got the machine at the end of December, they’ve done two surgeries. Several more are already scheduled.

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