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August 18, 2013

Robot technology aids in hip, knee replacements

(Continued)

KENMORE —

”The robot allows us to go one step beyond that because we can predictably postition the ball and socket so we can have positioning as accurate as possible,” he added.

A recent study by Dr. Henrik Malchau, of Massachusetts General Hospital, found that of 77 total hip-replacement surgeries done by three surgeons with the robot, 84 percent were correctly positioned within an acceptable range. That compares to a 47 percent acceptable range among 1,823 traditional hip-replacement surgeries at the hospital, MAKO Surgical Corp. says on its website.

Shields said he underwent extensive training in Miami, Fla., to learn to make use of the MAKO robot, which Kenmore Mercy Hospital purchased for $750,000 in 2008. Kenmore Mercy’s MAKO robot is one of 164 commercially used in the United States and one of 171 worldwide.

Walt Ludwig, Kenmore Mercy’s chief operating officer, said the technology wasn’t initially even offered to hospitals in Western New York because a hospital would have to have a high volume of orthopedic surgery to make it worth its while. He said more orthopedic surgeons have come to the hospital because of its continued investment in its orthopedic program, resulting in more orthopedic surgeries. 

Up until March, the only surgeon using the device at Kenmore Mercy was Dr. John Repicci, who helped MAKO develop the technology.

”Since one of our local orthopedic surgeons was very instrumental in helping this company develop this robot and how it works, it made sense for us to obtain it,” Ludwig said.

Repicci uses the technology to perform partial knee-replacement surgeries, the only procedure Kenmore Mercy’s robot was used for until Shields began using it for hips in March.

Shields has completed 13 surgeries as of the first week of August. 

Rienzo’s was done July 15, just three weeks before her interview. She said she was initially hesitant about the surgery, convinced it would be more complicated and painful than her knee surgery.

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