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Minimally invasive, robotic assisted joint replacement

Patient specific surgical plans for superior recovery

The knee is one of the most important joints in the human body, bending repeatedly throughout the day and night so we can walk or run, sit or stand, and do so comfortably.  But for some individuals, even minor movements of the knee are intensely uncomfortable and even painful.  If you have reached the point where non-surgical treatments are no longer effective in managing the discomfort and pain in your knee, it may be time to consider Minimally Invasive Muscle Sparing Patient Specific Robotic Total Knee Replacement. 


A minimally invasive total knee replacement is a surgical procedure in which the entire joint between the femur and the tibia is replaced with a prosthesis, usually composed of metal, polyethylene, or ceramics.  The damaged cartilage is removed, and the end of the bones resurfaced and fitted with the prosthesis, while a plastic spacer allows the two parts of the prosthesis to move against each other easily and painlessly, much like the cartilage it replaced.  A total knee replacement can be expected to provide pain-free movement for between 25-30 years and potentially longer.  All of this is done without any of the quadriceps muscle being cut like traditional knee replacement.

Benefits of minimally invasive, robotic assisted knee replacement

A traditional total knee replacement is an invasive surgical procedure involving a long incision (10-12 inches) through the skin on top of the knee and incisions through the quadriceps tendon (which joins the large muscles of the thigh to the kneecap).  A minimally invasive patient specific total knee replacement is a cutting edge procedure that improves on the more invasive, traditional approach:

  • It is minimally invasive: this procedure utilizes much smaller incisions, usually only 4-6 inches long.  Moreover, Dr. Head doesn’t cut into any of the muscles around the knee, resulting in less damage to the soft tissue, significantly less post-operative discomfort, and much faster return of complete knee function.  This allows for faster initial recovery and return to activities sooner.  

  • It is patient specific: prior to the procedure, the surgeon will conduct a CT scan of the knee joint, using that model to customize the joint implant instrumentation for each patient’s unique anatomy, and develop a surgical plan that is individually tailored to the specific needs of each and every patient.  The pre-operative CT scan allows the surgeon to operate with greater accuracy, and results in a knee replacement that is more precisely shaped to fit the resurfaced bones.

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By combining minimally invasive surgical techniques with a robotic-assisted, custom-tailored instrumentation and surgical plan, surgeons are able to perform the operation more precisely, leading to less trauma to the soft tissues, muscles, and tendons around the joint and reducing the risk of surgical and post-operative complications.  This procedure has been shown to reduce blood loss during and immediately after the surgery, shorter hospital stays, and less post-operative pain and discomfort.  And because there is less damage to the soft tissue, patients generally experience a faster recovery and rehabilitation, regaining the full range of motion allowed by the prosthesis in a shorter time frame than allowed by a traditional total knee replacement.  Like a traditional total knee replacement, a knee replacement that is conducted in this manner can be expected to last 25-30 years and potentially longer.

Procedure and recovery

A minimally invasive patient specific total robotic knee replacement usually requires a procedural time of 1-1½ hours, followed by a short hospital stay; in fact, most patients are able to leave the hospital within one day of surgery, while some are able to leave the same day.  Most patients will have mild post-operative pain and discomfort, and will notice swelling around the joint immediately after the operation; these symptoms can usually be alleviated with Tylenol and Celebrex.  Patients are encouraged to begin walking unassisted within hours of the procedure.  With regular physical therapy, recovering full strength, energy, and range of motion can occur within a month or two of the procedure.  During recovery, patients are advised to keep the knee in a comfortable position and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.  Exercise every day is recommended, and patients can use icepacks regularly if they notice swelling or tenderness.  During recovery, patients should avoid large bends, twisting movements, and high-impact activities like running and jumping.

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