High-tech help for joint replacements

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (WCAX) - If you need knee replacement surgery, doctors at one hospital in New York’s North Country are about to use new technology in the operating room. Our Kelly O’Brien shows you how it works and what it could mean for your recovery.

As surgeons at Adirondack Health tinker with the tools ahead of knee replacement surgery, new, state-of-the-art technology sits in the operating room next door

"The only true robotic system for joint replacement," said Dr. Bartlomiej Szczech, an orthopedic surgeon.

The million-dollar Mako robot will help assist orthopedic surgeons during the 300-500 joint replacement surgeries they operate on each year at the Adirondack Medical Center.

"This is a huge step forward for us," said Dr. William Smith, an orthopedic surgeon.

They way it works is pretty simple when it comes to surgery. Cameras are connected to a computer that makes up a 3D model of either the patient's hip or knee. The computer shows the best fit to replicate the person's existing joint.

"When you plan for surgery and you can plan for things three-dimensionally, you can get a really god idea where you want to align things and really make your reconstruction fit the patient," Smith said.

The arm helps guide the surgeon to make a more precise cut.

"This not only allows us to make precise cuts within a degree or two or a millimeter or two, but it also then gives us feedback on the exact tension," Szczech said.

During the operation, the computer updates and changes can be made on the spot.

"Exactly how balanced the knee is in full extension and full flexion and every degree in between," Szczech said.

The Mako robot makes its debut in the operating room this Tuesday.

Click here for much more on the Mako robot.

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