Lakewood Ranch Medical Center invests in surgical technology

nwilliams@bradenton.comOctober 4, 2012 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lakewood Ranch Medical Center has purchased a $1.4 million robotic system that will enhance precision in hip and knee replacement surgeries.

The MAKOplasty system, manufactured by Fort Lauderdale-based MAKO Surgical Group, uses a surgeon-controlled robotic arm and provides 3-D model imaging for physicians to make more accurate incisions.

The hospital purchased the equipment last week and will start using it as early as November.

The system allows surgeons to plan a virtual surgery on the computer system based on the patient's anatomy. Computerized Tomography can pinpoint the precise position of insertion for hip implants and knee resurfacing, and during the procedure, the robotic arm will execute the virtual, pre-surgical plan. If the surgeon tries to move the arm outside the pre-designated plan, it will not proceed.

"This prevents us from making a mistake in the

first place," said Jeff Silverstein, an orthopedic surgeon at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

On Oct. 23, Silverstein will conduct a lecture for the public on the MAKO system at the Polo Bar & Grill, 10670 Boardwalk Loop. The lecture will include a presentation and question-and-answer segment. Reservations are required.

Silverstein worked in a fellowship program at Tampa General Hospital prior to joining Lakewood Ranch Medical Center two months ago. While there, he witnessed physicians using the MAKO system.

"It won't take much for experienced surgeons to understand it," Silverstein said.

Prior to the technology, surgeons prepared procedures free-hand using a Computerized Tomography scan. The MAKO system basically eliminates the guess work for surgeons.

"There is a certain bell curve to our results," said John Ayres, an orthopedic surgeon at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. "The robotic arm's results are at the higher end. Humans can see up to three degrees, but this robot can see a half-degree. The robot correct those few degrees."

Ayres compared it to getting precise alignment service on an automobile.

Eddie Torres, sales manager for MAKO Surgical Group, said the accuracy of the system is between two to five millimeters of CT scan, depending on the procedure. Six surgeons at Lakewood Ranch Medical, including an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, are trained to operate the machine.

Terri Fry, director of Surgical Services at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, said the system can be used for patients with degenerative changes in their knees, which typically is a sign of osteoarthritis.

"It's a different modality to care for patients," she said.

To make a reservation for the lecture, call 941-708-8100.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams

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