Comanche County Memorial Hospital has done thousands of surgeries with their MAKO robotic-arm assisted surgery system, which is controlled by an orthopedic surgeon at the hospital.
Dr. Clint Kirk, who frequently uses the system at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, said it allows them to be more specific than before when it comes to performing replacement surgeries for total hip, partial knee and now total knee replacement.
“In the past, one monoblock fit all,” Dr. Kirk said. “A block would be placed on the knee, and then the same cuts across the board for anybody. Now, we can change those cuts based on computer navigation, robotic technology to be a lot invasive.”
He said the precision makes it where less bone has to be taken off of the patient and smaller pieces of plastic are needed. Dr. Kirk said no patient is the same, so everybody comes in with different balances to their knees which they take into account.
“With the MAKO, we actually know what the balance is going to be before we make any cuts,” Dr. Kirk said. “With the old technology, we would pin it, cut it, and then we’d work from there. A lot of times, with really advanced deformity cases, you can’t get it perfect. With the MAKO, you know you’re going to get it perfect before you even make a cut.”
He said with the new technology, there is less of a transfusion risk, and the surgery takes 40 to 45 minutes and uses smaller incisions which speeds up recovery time.
Dr. Kirk said those needing hip or knee surgeries shouldn’t be scared of having a robot assisting during the surgery.
“The patient should think of the MAKO as a safeguard,” Dr. Kirk said. “They shouldn’t fear it. It’s actually a safeguard, so if the surgeon was going to stray outside of the plan, the robot computer actually shuts down and doesn’t let that happen.”
As for who needs a knee or hip replacement, Dr. Kirk said he usually tells patients when their pain is at a 6 out of 10, and it bothers them multiple times a day is when they should make an appointment for their treatment options.
“I think people need to just come in and have a talk about it and get the questions answered,” Dr. Kirk said. “A lot of people have 10 or 15 different questions that are just burning in their mind, and those are the questions when we have more time, we can discuss those issues and allergy issues and expectations.”
If you’d like more information about the MAKO system or on getting hip or knee surgery, give Dr. Kirk’s office a call at (580) 357-3671 to set up an appointment.