Precise Robotic Knee Surgery at Houston VA fast-tracks Veteran recovery

New technology creates 3-D image of a patient’s anatomy for personalized surgical plan


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New robotic technology at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston is ensuring Veterans undergoing knee replacement surgeries experience less pain and recover faster.

Last week, David M. Green, M.D., M.S. and Melvyn A. Harrington, Jr., M.D., orthopedic surgeons at the Houston VA, performed the VA’s first total knee replacement using the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted technology.

The patient, a 73-year-old Navy Veteran, is recovering nicely.

“We do more than 400 knee replacements at the Houston VA every year,” said Green. “This new technology will allow us to perform these surgeries with even more precision. It allows for more precise bone preparation, less soft tissue injury and potentially a less painful and speedier recovery for our Veterans.”

Customized, personal approach

The new technology creates a 3-D virtual model of each patient’s bone anatomy, allowing surgeons to map out the procedure beforehand and size the implant perfectly by using the Veteran’s computed tomography (CT) scan. Surgeons use the virtual model to practice placing the implants or artificial joints in precisely the right location, making adjustments as necessary. The technology provides a personalized surgical plan for each Veteran, based on their unique anatomy.

“The 3-D model simulates how a knee will move and act once an implant is in place,” said Harrington. “Once the virtual model is complete, we use the robotic arm to perform the bone cuts so the implant can be precisely placed.”

The most common cause of knee pain in older adults is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes the deterioration of joint cartilage and surrounding bones in the knees. When osteoarthritis of the knees becomes severe, normal activities like walking or going up stairs can become painful or nearly impossible. Knee replacement surgeries can offer Veterans a solution to this pain and improve their quality of life.

Houston VA doctors use this state-of-the-art technology to improve recovery time for Veterans with limited mobility who are often in a great deal of pain.

“We are committed to offering our Veterans the best care along with the latest technology,” said Green. “They deserve nothing but the best, and we are proud to give it to them.”


Maureen Dyman is the communications director at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Bobby Ulibarri    

    Is this available in Colorado, Denver or Grand Junction

  2. William Donald Jackson    

    As to All replies to the Robotic Knee surgery! I too have been needing this type of surgery for over 9 years! I’ve tried 2 different types of “Serums”. Neither one gave me much relief ! And I ‘ve hesitated due to so many “Failures” from others who have had this type of “Standard Knee Replacement”.
    I.m a 79 yr. Navy Veteran who began Physical Training during 1957 Naval Boot Camp ! And due to type of physical requirements from both the Navy and Firefighter Careers wore out the cartridge in both knees ! I’ve een afraid of Operations and the possible failure of out-come ?
    I live in the state of Georgia ! Is there a VA Hospital local to discuss this “New Procedure”?

    William D. Jackson USN-Ret.

  3. James Pero    

    I’m on my third right knee replacement. Any hope this method might repair what I have or give me a fourth? Just for fun I have a floating bone chip from the knee cap as well.

  4. Ralph Roy Carlson    

    I’ve been needing knee sur for years.

  5. Alan Begley    

    When will this surgery be available at the Fayettville VA in North Carolina?

  6. John France    

    When will this surgery expand to other places? Minneapolis?

  7. Michael Crowley    

    When will robotic knee replacement be available at all VA hospitals? Will this technology be able to be used I shoulders and hips?

    1. Larry Ware    

      When will this procedure find its way to the Washington D.C. area?

  8. Veronica Flores    

    Is there a waiting list for this procedure? When will it be available at West Los Angeles VA ? I’m due for knee replacement on both knees.

  9. AJ Gabel    

    If only this was available at the Coatesville, PA, VA hospital!!

  10. Ted saraf    

    Is there any future date where this type of robotic surgery will be coming to the VA in West Los Angeles

  11. Daniel CA    

    Knee pain is so measurable. I did not know that knee replacement with robotic. this is good news for us that pain less treatment and recover. thanks all doctor.

  12. Kathryn Reed    

    When will this type of surgery be available at the Oklahoma VA Medical Center?

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