New Robotic-Arm Tech for Knee Replacements Offers More Precision, Faster Recovery

Robotic-arm assisted surgery for total or partial knee replacements is becoming more common for the growing number of patients suffering from pain caused by arthritis or injury — and who haven’t found relief with non-surgical treatments.

Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute is the first institution in Miami-Dade County to invest in the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology, manufactured by Stryker. Mako has helped surgeons perform partial and knee replacements more accurately. For patients, that means preserving soft tissue, saving healthy bone, and realizing faster recoveries. 

Every patient that needs a knee replacement, whether a total or partial knee, is candidate to have a robotic procedure with Mako, says Juan Carlos Suarez, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.

(The Baptist Health News Team hears from orthopedic surgeon Juan Carlos Suarez, M.D., about the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology. Video by Steve Pipho.)

"The robotic knee replacement surgery is a big advancement in the field of joint replacement because it allows us to personalize the surgery," explains Dr. Suarez, an expert in knee and hip replacements. "And what we're learning is that not all patients need their knee replacement done exactly the same way. But you cannot do it without accuracy and precision."

Total or partial knee replacements using Mako starts with a CT scan that creates 3D images of a patient's unique anatomy. Using these images, the Mako technology guides surgeons to cut what's planned precisely for each patient. The surgeon uses the technology to evaluate bone structure, disease severity, joint alignment, and the surrounding bone and tissue. This enables them to determine the optimal size, placement, and alignment of the implant.

With the help of increased precision, Mako protects soft tissue and ligaments fom damage. In a clinical study, Mako patients surveyed six months after surgery reported less pain and resumed normal activities sooner, compared to those who received a conventional joint replacement.

"What the robot allows you to do is precisely that. It allows you to personalize any replacement based on the specific needs of that patient, which is leading to faster recovery;' says Dr. Suarez.

About Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute

Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute is a center of excellence at Baptist Health South Florida. The heart of the Institute, Miami HEAT Sports Medicine Center, is located on the Doctors Hospital campus in Coral Gables. The Institute offers comprehensive services for athletes and non-athletes from physical and cognitive evaluation to rehabilitation and surgical reconstruction. The Institute is the sports medicine provider for the Miami Dolphins, Miami HEAT, Florida Panthers, Inter Miami, Florida International University athletics, Orange Bowl, Miami Open Tennis, Miami Marathon, and Half Marathon, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians, and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities, and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the vVorld's Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit us at baptisthealth.net/ortho.