Dr. John Masterson, an orthopedic surgeon who is a 25-year veteran of orthopedics, was recruited to Brownwood four months ago from his practice in Jackson, Tennessee. Recently, he discussed a technology that arrived at the Brownwood which has existed in the medical field since 2006. Known as robot-assisted surgery, this technique is used in hip and knee replacements. The equipment arrived at Brownwood Regional Medical Center in late October, and while it has not yet been used on a BRMC patient, there are patients scheduled for surgery using this. 

The robotic-arm assist surgery procedure allows surgeons to “create a 3D plan and perform joint replacement surgery. The robotic-arm is controlled by a surgeon and he/she executes the procedure with a high degree of accuracy. The most important advantage of this surgery is that it provides accuracy in alignment and positioning in joint replacement. This technology is only limited to total hips, total knees, and partial knee replacements. But there is a possibility that it may be expanded in the future. 

Masterson explained more about the procedure. He said that the first step is taking a CT scan of the area which is used to input data points into the robot, into the computer. Then in the operating room, data points from the patient are taken. Those points are used to give a 3D image of the actual patient that can be used to get the right size of the implant, and also use to pre-position the implant where we want it to be. Once that’s done, the robotic arm is then used and the surgeon guides the robotic arm to either make the cuts or if it’s the hip replacement, a reaming step of putting a cup into the hip is done. It is done very precisely and reproducibly.

In a robotic-arm assist surgery, things are operated reproducibly, putting the components accurately, which is believed to potentially affect the longevity of the components, decrease the risk of failures and give the patient some more normal feel. “In other areas where the robotic-arm assist surgery has been used, patients have benefitted from decreased pain and improved recovery in the early post-operation period,” Masterson said.

This surgical technique is fascinating and medical organizations all over the world are slowly accepting such technologies making the medical field more trustworthy and useful.