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Health First | Robotic knee replacement surgery

Commonwealth Health’s Dr. Mike Raklewicz performed the first total knee replacement surgery using a robot called the Navio system.

The first robotic device of its kind to be used in Luzerne and Lackawanna County is in service at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Late last year, Commonwealth Health’s Dr. Mike Raklewicz performed the first total knee replacement surgery using a robot called the Navio system.

Dr. Mike Raklewicz, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, explains, “The Navio system we map the knee with the instrument and the computer stores the knowledge and then I make the decisions with the computer as to the cuts.”

Working as partners, Dr. Raklewicz and the robot can achieve greater precision and accuracy than a skilled surgeon alone. This type of system is unique because it does not require a CT scan before surgery, which spares the patient of additional radiation and saves money.

Instead, the computer helps the surgeon build a 3-dimensional model of the patient’s knee and guides the cuts based on that model.

“I think a well-aligned knee has a better chance of not wearing out than a non-well-aligned knee. It has to do with wear of surfaces. If you have even wear, that’s good. If you have uneven wear, that’s bad. I think you have a better chance of even wear with a computer and robotics system,” said Dr. Raklewicz.

Being able to create those even surfaces, ultimately, leads to better outcomes for patients who require total or partial knee replacement.

Robotic-assisted surgery typically results in smaller incisions and quicker recovery periods.

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