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It has been over 10 years since my partners, and I invested in Mako Robotic Joint replacement and in this time, I have put over 3500 Mako partial and total knees in patients across the Ark-La-Tex and beyond. In 2010, my partners and I at Specialists Hospital Shreveport and Orthopedic Specialists of Louisiana decided to invest in a robot that was developed by Mako Surgical. MAKOplasty was commercially coined term for a robotic, arm assisted system for partial knee replacement. We were the first hospital in Louisiana, and I would be the first surgeon in Louisiana to perform a MAKOplasty partial knee replacement in July 2010. In 2013, Stryker Orthopedics acquired MAKOplasty and combined Stryker’s market-leading implants (US) with Mako’s proprietary robotic arm technology and began a partnership with orthopedic surgeons from around the world (including myself) to create the surgical application of Mako Total Knee Replacement. Having performed hundreds of Mako robotic partial knee replacements, I was excited and intrigued by the Mako Total Robotic Knee application and worked closely with Stryker Orthopedics to grow the application. In December of 2016, I was again, Louisiana’s first surgeon to perform the Mako Robotic Total Knee at Specialists Hospital Shreveport. Today, I am fortunate enough to train surgeons from around the world on this technology and Specialists Hospital Shreveport now has three robots that are utilized by myself and six of my partners for partial and total knee replacement, as well as total hip replacement.

Robotic technology has been utilized for years in orthopedics, primarily focusing on partial knee replacement and hip replacement and we now have the technology to perform robotic arm assisted knee replacement. As an orthopedic surgeon, precision and accuracy are key factors in a successful surgical outcome. Using the Mako Robotic arm assisted technology, the surgeon can better execute getting the implant in the pre-surgical plan position determined through an individualized CT (computed tomography) scan. Ideally, the more exact the implant is positioned, the better the function of the knee and the greater potential for the longevity of the implant… meaning the implant has the potential to last over a longer period. We have used numerous tools and instruments to ensure implant placement before, but none are as precise and clear as the technology offered with the Mako robotic arm assisted robot. Mako robotic total knee replacement offers my patients a customized approach to their total knee replacement and provides the technology to insure proper implant alignment and placement intra-operatively with real-time feedback. Do keep in mind… the robot does not perform the surgery, rather it is a trained surgeon’s tool to ensure accuracy and precision.

Any patient with osteoarthritis of the knee, that is significant enough to affect their daily activity level and function to warrant a knee replacement would be a candidate for Mako robotic total knee replacement. When a patient does come to see me and we have determined through x-ray and an evaluation that they are a candidate for knee replacement, and they assure me that they are ready for total knee replacement surgery, the next step is getting them scheduled. We will order labs and some preadmissions testing that need to be completed about three weeks prior to their surgery. One of those tests will be a CT (computed tomography) scan that allows us to make an individualized surgical plan that is customized to each patient. Once we obtain the CT scan, we can feed information through the robot, as to indicate the size and location of the patient’s bone, determine the size of the implant to be utilized and exactly where on the patient’s bone we will place the implant.

In the last 10+ years, there have been some key advancements in total joint replacement: robotics, anesthesia protocols, pre- and post-rehab protocols, surgeon experience and greater techniques and tools to educate our patients. Educating my patients prior to surgery is essential… they need to know what is expected of them and have a noticeably clear idea of what I am going to deliver. Inevitably, at some point my patients will hear me say, “You get out what you put into this surgery!” It is important that my patients know this before their surgery… I have the experience and techniques to give them a great knee, but the patient must remain focused and dedicate time to their recovery to have the absolute best outcome. Here’s to 10+ years and many more with Mako and all future advancements in robotic joint replacement.

Steven Atchison, MD is one of the Nation’s leaders in Stryker Mako Robotic Partial and Total Knee Replacement and the Direct Superior Hip Approach. To schedule an evaluation, please visit: orthopedicspecialistsla.com or call: 866.759.9679.