Robotic orthopedic surgery is used for partial knee replacements and total hip replacements at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida.

During joint replacement procedures, a surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage and replaces it with artificial components made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.

  • Knee replacement. A total knee replacement involves the entire joint. But if only one section of the knee has been damaged, surgeons can replace just the damaged portion of the knee joint. This is called a partial knee replacement.
  • Total hip replacement. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, and both sections of the joint are removed and replaced in a total hip replacement procedure.

How robotics can help

There are several different varieties of robotic assistance used for orthopedic surgery. At Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, a computerized tomography (CT) scan before the surgery is used to plan exactly how much bone should be removed. During the surgery, the robotic arm ensures that this plan is followed exactly — so that just enough but not too much bone is removed.

One of the most difficult aspects of joint replacement surgery is placing the individual components of the artificial joint in the best possible alignment so they will mesh together and work smoothly. The robotic arm provides tactile, visual and auditory feedback to assist the surgeon in achieving the desired orientation, which can enhance stability and mobility.

Robotic orthopedic surgery is more expensive and generally takes longer than traditional joint replacement, but the hospital stay is usually shorter. Ask your surgeon if robotic orthopedic surgery would be a good option for your situation.