Knee replacements are more precise, have faster recovery with aid of robotics

Dan Weinbaum
May 14, 2018 - 6:33 am

Jackie Wolf is feeling pretty good now, after getting a partial knee replacement brought about by degenerative arthritis.

"I'm walking my little dogs, which I couldn't do for months and months, which makes me happy," Wolf says.

The first surgery in Wolf's life was also the first robotic-assisted knee replacement in the KC Metro, according to staff at St. Joseph Medical Center.

"Anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of patients aren't really happy with their knee replacement," said Dr. Scott Abraham, Wolf's orthopedic surgeon. "We think that maybe sometimes we're not as precise with the positions of the components we think we might be."

Abraham uses a new hand-held robotic tool that helps correct for human error. Surgeries are more precise and less invasive, which leads to faster recoveries.

"I'm still doing the surgery, the robot is just helping me be more precise with the cuts and the balancing of the knee joint," Abraham says. "Several years ago patients would be in hospital two, three, four days -- now we're getting them out same or next day."


Wolf is thrilled with her new knee, and the speed with which she recovered.

"I had my surgery on a Monday and I was home Tuesday afternoon," Wolf said.

Wolf gets around just like she did before arthritis robbed her of mobility. She says she's not taking any medication, and uses no aid like a walker or cane.

"If we can have technology that helps us do it better, helps patients recover quicker and with less risk, it's a good thing to offer patients," Abraham said.

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