When Ann met with Michael Ast, MD, orthopedic surgeon and medical director
of the Robotic Joint Replacement Program at Robert Wood Johnson University
Hospital Hamilton, she suspected a partial knee replacement was in her future.
“I’d had a partial knee surgery eight years prior on my other
knee and this pain was very similar,” explains Ann. “I was
not looking forward to going through it again, but my knee was bone on
bone. It was very painful.”
Natural, by Way of Technology
Ann, who spent her youth as a gymnast and cheerleader, thought she knew
what to expect with partial knee replacement surgery. What she didn’t
know is that in the eight years since her previous partial knee surgery,
a lot had changed.
“Dr. Ast explained to me that partial knee surgery had become a much
more precise surgery. He told me he could even do it robotically now,
which would help to make the fit as close to natural as possible,” she says.
Robotic technology made its way into operating rooms years ago, but only
in recent years had the technology advanced to include orthopedic surgery.
The benefits of robotic-assisted surgery are mainly about precision –
a key element for successful orthopedic surgery.
A New Experience
“Dr. Ast instilled me with a lot of confidence going into surgery,
but I was nervous,” admits Ann.
“With my last partial knee replacement, I was in the hospital for
three days. With this one, I had surgery in the morning, and I went home
that evening—walking, with the help of a walker,” says Ann.
“What a difference!”
This is no surprise to Dr. Ast, who has seen many patients experience a
better recovery following robotic surgery. He says that while recovery
is mostly related to pain control and physical therapy after surgery,
the precision of robotic-assisted surgery can put a patient at an advantage.
For Ann, the surgery was nothing like what she expected it would be—and
that’s a good thing.
“Physical therapy had me up and moving right away,” she says.
“I didn’t think I could do it, and I was taken aback by how
easily I could move.”