Orthopedic Services

Robotic-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery

Choose Precise, Individualized Robotic-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery 

Northern Arizona Healthcare now offers the Mako System, which is the only true robotic technology available in Northern Arizona that can be used to perform total knee, total hip, and partial knee replacements. Not only is this the most technologically advanced option for patients with pain due to joint degeneration from osteoarthritis in the knee or degenerative joint disease in the hip; it is also transforming the way surgeons are able to perform joint replacement surgeries.

The advanced robotic technology allows Northern Arizona Healthcare to provide each patient with a personalized surgical experience and reconstruction plan based upon their diagnosis, goals, and the 3D plan that uses a CT scan to consider the patient’s specific anatomy and ligament balance.

To schedule a consult, call 800-656-7880.

What procedures are available with Mako Technology? 

Orthopedic procedures that can be performed with Mako include:

Partial Knee Replacement

A partial knee replacement is a minimally invasive treatment option designed to relieve pain caused by early to mid-stage osteoarthritis that has not progressed to all three compartments of the knee. Partial knee replacement can be done when the damage is confined to a particular compartment of the knee since only the damaged part of the knee cartilage is replaced with an artificial substitute.

Total Knee Replacement

A total knee replacement is really a cartilage replacement with an artificial surface. The knee itself isn’t replaced, as is commonly thought; rather, an artificial substitute for the cartilage is inserted on the end of the bones. This is done with a metal alloy on the femur, and a plastic spacer on the tibia and kneecap or patella. This creates a new, smooth cushion and a painless, functioning joint.

Total Hip Replacement

A total hip replacement is a procedure that removes the arthritic ball of the upper thighbone or femur as well as damaged cartilage from the hip socket. The ball is replaced with a metal ball that’s fixed solidly inside the femur. The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal liner that’s usually fixed inside a metal shell. This creates a smoothly functioning joint that doesn’t hurt.

Benefits of Mako Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Robotic-assisted orthopedic surgery makes it possible to complete certain procedures with an exceptionally high level of precision. For instance, robot-assisted technologies can help surgeons selectively target damaged cartilage and bone, in turn reducing the impact to healthy bone tissues and surrounding ligaments. Benefits of robotic-assisted orthopedic surgery include:

  • Improved surgical outcomes
  • More precise implant placement
  • Smaller incision 
  • Quicker recovery and shorter hospital stay*
  • Less postoperative pain*
  • Less postoperative therapy required*
  • Less implant wear and tear
  • Faster return to activities

*As compared to standard orthopedic surgery

How does Mako work?

Sample imaging from Mako

It’s important to understand that while the surgery utilizes a robot, it is performed by an orthopedic surgeon who guides the robotic arm during the surgery to position the implant in the knee and hip joints. The Mako robotic arm does not perform surgery, make decisions on its own, or move without the surgeon guiding it. The Mako System also allows your surgeon to make adjustments to your plan during surgery as needed.

Three Steps that lead to improved precision:

  1. Create a custom, virtual 3D model – A CT scan of the affected hip or knee joint is taken. This CT scan is uploaded into the Mako System software, where a 3D model of the hip or knee is created. This 3D model is used to pre-plan and assist the surgeon in performing the joint replacement procedure.  
  2. Build a personalized surgical plan – The surgeon will use the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology and 3D model to provide a personalized surgical plan and identify implant size, orientation, and alignment based on the patient’s unique anatomy.  
  3. Replace hip or knee with precision – During the procedure, the Mako System helps the surgeon stay within the planned boundaries that were defined during the preoperative plan. And Mako allows the surgeon to make adjustments to your plan during surgery as needed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery™?

The Mako robotic-arm assisted surgery is the latest approach to joint replacement that offers the potential for a higher level of patient-specific implant alignment and positioning. The Mako system provides each patient with a personalized surgical experience based on their specific diagnosis and anatomy. The advanced robotic technology allows our surgeons to create a patient-specific 3D plan that uses a CT scan to guide the reconstruction plan, considering each patient’s specific anatomy and ligament balance.

What are the advantages of using the Mako system?

With the Mako system, the surgeries are more precise, which can decrease time at the hospital and speed up recovery time.

Does the Mako Robotic Arm actually perform the surgery?

No, the robotic arm cannot move without the surgeon. The surgeon guides the Mako robotic arm within the predefined area, helping the surgeon stay within the boundaries that were defined in the patient-specific 3D plan. The surgeon also guides the Mako robotic arm to remove diseased bone and cartilage, and then inserts the full or partial knee or hip replacement. During the surgery, all decisions are made by the surgeon.

What can I expect following surgery?

After surgery, our team will help you recover by setting goals to get you moving again. Most patients discharge from the hospital next day, or even same day in some cases, and return to their normal routines in four to six weeks.

Should I get this surgery?

Your orthopedic surgeon will decide if you’re a candidate for the surgery, based on your history, exam, and X-rays.

Does the hospital charge more for the use of the Mako system, and does health insurance and/or Medicare cover it?

Northern Arizona Healthcare does not charge more for the use of the Mako system. It is billed the same as a standard knee or hip replacement. We preauthorize the Mako surgery with your insurance just like we would a standard hip or knee replacement. Yes, Medicare does cover this procedure. Our Patient Financial Specialist meets with each patient and reviews all of the costs prior to the surgery.

Do I need a referral?

No, you do not need a referral. You can call us directly to schedule a consult at 800-656-7880. Northern Arizona Healthcare will also provide an orthopedic nurse navigator to help guide you through each step of the process from your first consultation through your recovery.