Woman receives area’s first robot-assisted knee replacement surgery at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital
HUNTLEY, Ill. – Jan. 15, 2020 – The area’s first robot-assisted knee replacement surgery occurred Jan. 15 at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital. Dr. John Daniels, medical director of the Hip and Knee Replacement Center, performed the partial knee replacement procedure on Susanne McNicholas, a 50-year-old patient from West Dundee. The surgery was the first of its kind in the McHenry County and northern Kane County area. Daniels performed three robot-assisted knee surgeries on Wednesday, and Dr. Brian Flanagan performed one with several others planned.
The system uses a 3-D model of the patient’s knee or hip and helps the surgeon place the implant in the most accurate position. The robot protects nearby ligaments and tissues from additional damage.
“Today’s robotic surgery added a new level of precision that will definitely benefit patients,” Daniels said. “The robotic arm helped me fine-tune the implant placement so Susanne will have a natural feeling in her knee after she recovers. It’s exciting to know this will help patients experience less pain and recover faster.”
Candidates for robot-assisted joint replacement surgery are patients who are no longer receiving adequate relief from conservative treatment options such as bracing, medication or joint fluid supplements. They may experience severe knee or hip pain as a result of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic arthritis or avascular necrosis, which is the death of bone tissue.
Daniels said McNicholas’ surgery went exactly as planned and took just over an hour.
Anthony Brown, vice president of operations at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, said the new robot, called the Mako robotic arm-assisted technology, cost $1.2 million.
“The robotic arm is an investment in technology that will improve patients’ recovery and their long-term satisfaction,” Brown said.
Brown also said the investment reflects Northwestern Medicine’s commitment to bringing advanced care to the community.
“Since we joined Northwestern Medicine a year ago, we have been carefully re-examining the needs of our patients and community members to plan accordingly,” Brown said. “The purchase of this robotic arm is just the beginning of the investments that Northwestern Medicine is making to bring better care to the McHenry County and northern Kane County area.”
A study released Monday in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery said 90 percent of patients with knee osteoarthritis who would potentially benefit from knee replacement are waiting too long to have it and getting less benefit. The study’s lead investigator, Hassan Ghomrawi, associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said people who wait too long lose function of their legs and become depressed as their osteoarthritis advances. People who delay surgery also receive fewer benefits from the procedure compared to those who get it at the most ideal time.