Springfield hospital performs its 1st robot-assisted knee surgery

Springfield Regional Medical Center is breaking new ground to assist patients with knee trouble in the region.

The hospital can now provide robot-assisted partial and total knee replacement surgeries to patients with mobility issues. Dr. Eric Fester, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, performed the operation for the first time in December.

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The robot, Stryker’s Mako robotic arm, allows doctors the ability to make more accurate and effective surgeries while limiting how invasive procedures can be and minimizing patient discomfort.

With traditional surgeries, large incisions have to be made on the patient’s knee to allow equipment to perform the necessary work, but Fester said the Mako arm reduces that.

“What the robot allows us to do is make more accurate cuts without having to put these big cutting jigs on the bone,” he said.

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Some people might be nervous about the new option, but Fester said the benefits make it worthwhile.

His first candidate for the procedure, Theresa Hall, said she wasn’t skeptical about the surgery at all but the equipment itself surprised her.

“I was expecting this great big old machine but it was actually a lot smaller than what I thought,” she said.

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Traditional surgery can take up to two hours for a full knee replacement, Fester said, but he expects that time to decrease as the staff gets used to the equipment. Patients can expect a reduced amount of pain compared to traditional surgery, he said.

“That’s the biggest thing patients notice,” he said. “There’s less pain and you get back quicker.”

Fester said he’s excited about the chance to offer the technology to more patients in the region.

“People are always apprehensive about having surgery but when they hear we have the latest and greatest, they seem really excited about it,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re in New York or Chicago or little Springfield, Ohio — we want to be able to take care of you in the best and newest way possible.”

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