Robotic Knee Replacement Surgery: Your Questions Answered

Thu, May 16, 2024

Robotic Knee Replacement Surgery: Your Questions Answered

Robotic knee replacement surgery is a cutting-edge procedure that uses advanced technology to assist surgeons in performing more precise and accurate joint replacements. As this innovative approach to knee surgery continues to gain popularity (it grew more than 2,000% from 2010 to 2018), many North Carolina Specialty Hospital (NCSH) patients have questions about the process and what to expect. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about robotic knee replacement surgery.

The Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Robotic Knee Replacement Surgery

1. How does robotic knee replacement work?

Robotic-assisted knee surgery (and robotic partial knee replacement) involves the use of a robotic arm system that assists the surgeon in performing the surgery with greater accuracy. The system creates a 3D model of the patient’s knee, allowing the surgeon to plan and execute the procedure with precision. The robot helps guide the surgeon’s movements during the operation, ensuring that the implant is placed in the optimal position for improved joint function.

2. Is robotic knee replacement better than traditional knee replacement surgery?

Many studies have shown that robot-assisted surgery can result in better patient outcomes than traditional knee replacement surgery. The precision and accuracy of the system can lead to a more custom-fit implant, reduced risk of complications, and faster recovery times, as NCSH orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lucas Romine explains in this video:

Additionally, patients may experience less pain and a quicker return to normal activities with a robotic knee replacement.

3. Who is a good candidate for robotic knee replacement?

If you’re a candidate for a knee replacement, you’re a good candidate for robotic-assisted knee surgery. Patients typically experience severe knee pain and limited mobility due to conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or previous knee injuries.

4. What are the benefits of robotic knee replacement?

Benefits include:

  • Improved accuracy and precision in implant placement.
  • Reduced risk of complications.
  • Faster recovery times.
  • Less pain after surgery.
  • Improved joint function and a more natural feeling joint.

Additionally, smaller incisions are used, and there is less trauma to surrounding muscles and ligaments.

5. What is the recovery time for robotic knee replacement surgery?

In general, patients can expect to stay in the hospital for one to three days following surgery. Physical therapy will be an important part of recovery, helping patients regain strength, mobility, and function in their new knee joint. Patients may be prescribed pain medication to manage any discomfort. Most patients can resume most activities six weeks after surgery, but while 90% recover after three months, it can take six months or longer to achieve 100% recovery.

6. What is the success rate of a robotic knee replacement?

The success rate of robotic knee replacement surgery is generally high, with lower complication rates in the first three months post-surgery: 1.5% versus 2.6% in traditional knee replacement surgeries.

7. What are the disadvantages of robotic knee replacement? Are there any potential risks or complications?

While this surgery is generally considered safe, as with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications to be aware of, including infection, blood clots, nerve damage, implant failure, and stiffness in the joint. Patients should discuss these risks with their surgeon before undergoing surgery.

8. How long does a robotic knee replacement last?

Robotic knee replacement implants are designed to be long-lasting, with many patients experiencing pain relief and improved function for up to 20 years. However, this can vary depending on the patient’s age, activity level, weight, and overall health.

9. Does insurance cover robotic knee replacement? And is robotic knee replacement covered by Medicare?

Insurance coverage can vary depending on the individual’s insurance plan. Many insurance companies generally cover this type of procedure, especially if a healthcare provider deems it medically necessary. Prior authorization may be required; patients should check with their insurance provider for their specific coverage details.

Medicare coverage can also vary depending on the plan. Medicare typically covers medically necessary procedures, including knee replacement surgery. However, patients should check with their Medicare provider about their options for inpatient versus outpatient surgery and understand coverage details and any requirements that need to be met before the surgery can be performed. Patients should be prepared to pay any deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance that may apply.

10. Where can you find top-rated robotic knee replacement surgeons in the area?

At North Carolina Specialty Hospital, our robotic knee replacement surgeons (such as Dr. Romine) are among the leading experts in the state and use the latest technology available. We were one of the first hospitals in North Carolina to offer MAKOplasty, and our Joint Replacement program has been recognized for medical excellence, receiving the prestigious 2024 Medical Excellence Award by CareChex, an accolade reserved for the top 10% of hospitals in the nation. From diagnosis through recovery, you can trust you’ll receive the most advanced surgical and personal patient care.

If you have more questions about robotic knee surgery, click here to learn more or request an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons.

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