Medicine has come a long way, with advancing technologies and better medications. One of the most significant advances in orthopedics is robotic joint replacement surgery.
Robotics is highly specialized, allowing for precise measurements and surgical precision that no human could master. It's a priceless step forward in the surgical world, allowing for better surgical outcomes and faster recovery times.
But is everyone a good candidate for robotic joint replacement surgery? Although many people are, there's a lot to consider when thinking of having a joint replaced.
Robert Bostick III, MD, and the providers at Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, offer total and partial knee replacements using robotic technology. In this blog, Dr. Bostick explains what robotic joint replacement surgery is and signs that you may want to consider it.
What is a robotic joint replacement?
A joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which Dr. Bostick removes a damaged joint and replaces it with a prosthetic. The prosthetic then allows you to move comfortably again.
Robotic joint replacement surgery allows for the same thing, except there's more presurgical planning with the robot. It's important to understand that the robot doesn't perform the surgery. Dr. Bostick controls the robot at all times. Still, it allows him to make more precise cuts and calculations, which aids in optimal prosthetic placement and minimal bone and tissue loss.
The big difference between robotic surgery and nonrobotic surgery is the presurgical planning. Before robotic surgery, Dr. Bostick gets a CT scan of the knee joint. He then puts the information into the robot to plan for how much bone to remove and to find the ideal location for the prosthetic.
During surgery, the robotic arm follows the pre-planned map of the knee to make sure there’s as little bone loss as possible and to make sure the prosthetic is placed exactly where it should be.
Who’s a candidate for a joint replacement?
Anyone who has joint pain that impacts their daily life may be a candidate for a joint replacement. However, there are other things to consider as well.
For instance, a joint replacement is a highly invasive procedure, meaning we often don't offer it as the first line of treatment. Dr. Bostick typically recommends more conservative treatments at first, such as:
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Physical therapy
- Joint injections
- Activity modification
- Regenerative medicine
In people with mild to moderate arthritis or joint injuries, these treatments may be enough to provide relief and improve quality of life.
However, if you've tried conservative measures without significant relief, or if you have substantial joint damage from arthritis or an injury, a joint replacement may be the best option for long-term relief.
Three signs you should consider a robotic joint replacement
If you're going back and forth between traditional knee replacement surgery and robotic surgery, the answer is up to you. However, robotic surgery allows for more precise measurements and minimal bone loss, which aids in the recovery process.
When it comes to robotic joint replacements, Dr. Bostick only performs robotic knee replacements at this time. Signs you should consider this type of surgery include:
1. Knee pain that keeps you up at night
Severe knee pain that doesn't go away with medication, stretching, or rest may signal a bigger problem in the joint. If the constant pain keeps you from sleeping or wakes you up nightly, it's time to consider a robotic knee replacement.
2. Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
The knees are essential joints for walking, running, jumping, and climbing. If a joint is severely damaged, you may struggle to walk short distances or climb stairs. Trouble getting around paired with knee pain are signs you may need knee replacement surgery.
3. Inability to perform daily tasks due to pain
Severe knee pain can make it nearly impossible to do anything. If you often sit on the couch due to knee pain, even with home treatments, your joint may require surgery to improve your quality of life.
Before scheduling your robotic joint replacement, Dr. Bostick evaluates your overall health, obtains a CT or MRI of the joint, and discusses the procedure with you.
To find out if a robotic joint replacement may be able to help you, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.