Tools of the Trade

Cutting-edge, robotic assisted technology brings unprecedented 
degree of precision to joint replacement surgery at Inspira Health Network. 
Thanks to a longer-living population that’s more active than ever, advances in surgical techniques for joint replacement and improvements to implant technology, demand for knee and hip replacements has risen dramatically over the past decade and will continue to see explosive growth. The American Joint Replacement Registry predicts that some 3 million to 4 million knee replacements and more than 600,000 hip replacements will be performed annually by 2030. The evolution of joint replacement procedures over time has delivered patients the benefits of shorter recovery periods, less post-operative pain, improved mobility and better outcomes overall. 
Recently, investment in a Mako Robotic Assisted Surgery System at Inspira Health Center Woodbury has added yet another tool for the orthopedic surgeons’ arsenal. Offering an innovative treatment option, the new robotic technology, acquired in March 2018, now enables surgeons to have an even more predictable surgical experience with increased accuracy when performing hip and knee (total and partial) replacement procedures. 


Bringing Unparalleled Precision 

While current manual approaches to joint replacement surgery (which rely on the human hand and eye and are supported by the use of traditional X-rays) continue to yield outstanding results and represent the gold standard in the field of orthopedics, “Robotic-arm assisted technology delivers an unparalleled precision to the process,” said Inspira orthopedic surgeon Eddie Wu, D.O., one of several fellowship-trained Inspira surgeons who have undergone extensive training in the use of robotic technology. “By allowing surgeons the ability to make intra-operative adjustments and decrease component malposition outliers, robotic technology enables joint replacement surgery to be conducted in the most seamless and efficient manner possible,” he said. 
Fellow Inspira orthopedic surgeon Steven Frey, M.D., agreed. “The ability to pre-plan surgery and access objective data in the operating room is so helpful. The Mako precisely sizes implants to a patient’s unique anatomy prior to surgery and then applies fine-tuning throughout the procedure to optimally place them. Thanks to its strength in balancing and aligning implants, “Robotic technology can help surgeons better visualize and position implants, which can potentially reduce the stress on them and theoretically help them last longer, ultimately enhancing mobility for patients,” Frey said. 
Wu explained that the robotic arm of the unit, which is fully controlled by the surgeon, slides in and out of surgery as needed, can be outfitted with the appropriate cutting or shaping tool, and utilizes 3D modeling, which provides specific angles for cuts and guides surgeons into the exact plane required. “We’re able to take CT images of the joint in multiple planes to generate the 3D model and plan out the surgery before the patient even gets to the hospital,” Wu said. “Everything is personalized to the patient’s anatomy and can be confirmed and adjusted as needed during surgery, with the robotic-arm assisted technology delivering precision down to single degrees and even fractions of a millimeter.” 
Within the field of joint replacement surgery, “the use of robotic-arm assisted technology continues to gain popularity and is especially useful in more complex procedures based on all of the additional information the technology can provide,” Frey said. “While other products are available in the marketplace, Inspira Woodbury’s comprehensive Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology offers features that other competing models don’t have and represents the only technology of its kind in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties,” he said. “It’s a significant investment which Inspira made to benefit its local community and delivers patients a cutting-edge option right in the convenience of their own area.” 
“Orthopedics is very technology-driven and it’s an exciting time to be in the field, both for surgeons and patients,” Wu said. “Inspira’s recently acquired new robotic-arm assisted technology adds an unprecedented degree of precision to the process of knee and hip replacement surgery and is a great tool that builds on an already outstanding and proven technique to further improve patient outcomes.” 
For More Information: 
Call 1-800-INSPIRA to make an appointment with an Inspira physician or for an Inspira service.