Western Pennsylvania’s First Robotic-Assisted Hip and Knee Surgeries Performed at Allegheny Health Network’s West Penn Hospital

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Orthopaedic surgeons at Allegheny Health Network have performed the region’s first robotic-assisted total-hip and partial-knee replacements using MAKOplasty, a state-of-the-art system combining advanced imaging and a robotic surgical arm to achieve unprecedented accuracy in joint placement.

The MAKO RIO robot

As more and more active adults age 45 to 65 are seeking relief for severe joint pain, we’re poised to provide the best array of options to meet their unique needs.

Orthopaedic surgeons at Allegheny Health Network have performed the region’s first robotic-assisted total-hip and partial-knee replacements using a state-of-the- art interactive robotic arm that provides unprecedented precision and accuracy in joint placement.

The first surgeries using the MAKO Robotic arm Interactive Orthopaedic (RIO) system were done in late January at West Penn Hospital by orthopaedic surgeons Timothy J. Sauber, MD; Michael Seel, MD and Michael Pagnotto, MD. Nicholas Sotereanos, MD, also is trained to use the MAKOplasty system.

MAKOplasty is designed to facilitate minimally-invasive surgical techniques, allowing surgeons to treat patients at earlier stages of joint disease, preventing further deterioration and improving outcomes. The system uses a computed tomography (CT) scan of the patient’s joint to create a 3-dimentional map of the surgical area. The robotic arm then assists the surgeon as damaged bone is cut away, limiting the drilling to areas that were pre-defined in the surgical plan.

“The MAKOplasty system ensures the greatest possible accuracy with a detailed surgical plan and robotic guidance that guarantees that only arthritic portions of bone are resurfaced while healthy bone and tissue are preserved,” said Dr. Sauber. “This precision allows for optimal placement of artificial joints and results in decreased friction on the new joint and a more natural feeling joint for the patient.”

Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis is a leading cause of joint damage and disability worldwide, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In 2011, more than 28 million people in the United States were estimated to have osteoarthritis. It can occur in any joint in the body, but most often develops in weight-bearing joints, such as the hip and knee.

MAKOplasty can be used to treat early- to mid-stage osteoarthritis that has not progressed to all three compartments of the knee.

“This less invasive option helps patients remain active and pain free for many years and enables them to avoid total knee replacement for longer,” said Dr. Seel.

In hip replacement surgery, the MAKOplasty system helps the surgeon select the best size and positioning of implant components to achieve ideal biomechanical alignment.

Whether used for total-hip or partial-knee replacement, MAKOplasty offers the benefits of smaller incisions and scars, less blood loss, quicker recovery time and shorter hospital stays for patients. In many cases, patients are able to return home the same day or next morning following surgery.

“The arrival of robotic joint replacement surgery is the next step in Allegheny Health Network’s continuous process of applying the latest technologies and best surgical techniques to give our patients fantastic outcomes,” said Patrick J. DeMeo, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at Allegheny Health Network and Medical Director of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball organization. “As more and more active adults age 45 to 65 are seeking relief for severe joint pain, we’re poised to provide the best array of options to meet their unique needs.”

The Orthopaedic Institute at Allegheny Health Network is on the leading edge of the most advanced surgical approaches for treating musculoskeletal injuries and conditions and the Network’s programs have been recognized among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and Becker’s Hospital Review.

Allegheny Health Network’s Sports Medicine Program is widely regarded as a leading source of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative care for professional and amateur athletes. The Network is one of seven healthcare providers in the country designated as a US Olympic Regional Medical Center by the United States Olympic Committee. It’s also the official medical provider of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Robert Morris University, Gannon University, the Community College of Allegheny County and 20 Pittsburgh-area high schools.

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Jennifer Davis
Allegheny Health Network
+1 (412) 330-4439
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