MAKOplasty may look and sound like an intimidating word but the remarkable technology is relieving patients’ osteoarthritis pain with improved accuracy and longevity.

MAKOplasty is a robotic arm assisting in partial knee, hip and direct anterior hip replacement procedures designed to relieve the pain caused by joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis. By selectively targeting the part of your knee and hip that is damaged, a surgeon can resurface your knee or hip while sparing the healthy bone and ligaments makoplastysurrounding it.

Kenneth Sands, MD, is a Fellowship-trained Orthopedic Total Joint Specialist who joined Health First Medical Group in 2011. Dr. Sands specializes in hip resurfacing, direct anterior total hip replacements, computer-assisted surgery, total and partial knee replacements, complex and revision total joint surgery, and hip and knee arthroscopy. He’s a member of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons as well as the International Society for Hip Arthroscopy.

“A ‘MAKO’ procedure differs from traditional joint replacement because of the use of the robotic arm,” Dr. Sands explains. “Joint replacement surgery is an art and a science.”

“With the ‘MAKO’ robotic arm, the computer planning stage is accurately implemented with the assistance of the robotic arm,” Dr. Sands said. “We are also able to virtually perform the surgery and balance the knee prior to making our final cuts of the bone.”

The robotic arm improves the accuracy of the surgery. Over the past few decades, doctors have been able to use computers to improve the accuracy of implant placement; however, in the end, they still used traditional jigs to make the final cuts.

The benefit is the potential for improved accuracy. The hope is that improved accuracy leads to improved longevity, which in turn should result in a better outcome for the patient.

The majority of the partial knee replacement MAKO procedures can expect a relatively quick initial recovery. (The initial recovery is the time that it takes for the patient to wean themselves from a cane and return to the majority of their normal activities.) This may take anywhere from one to six weeks.  Generally, the recovery time is faster than a total knee replacement. 

“Certain activities will interfere with the longevity of the implant,” said Dr. Sands. “I do not recommend running for distance, but it is possible to return to sports like softball, baseball, tennis, golf and basketball.”

Recently orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Perry completed Central Florida’s first robot-assisted, direct anterior hip replacement at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center. The minimally invasive procedure took a little over an hour to complete and the patient was up walking the next morning.

Dr. Perry utilized the MAKOplasty Hip and RIO system, a highly advanced, surgeon-controlled robotic arm that enables the accurate alignment and positioning of implants.

Direct anterior hip replacement in combination with robotic technology allows for:

  • Smaller incisions and no cutting of muscle
  • Faster recovery times
  • Extremely low dislocation rate compared to traditional methods


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