News Release Center

8/6/2018 12:00:00 AM CENTRAL
Updated: 9/18/2018 12:42:01 PM CENTRAL
For more information, contact Deanna Hendrich.
Make your life better with knee replacement. Meet Mako at GVMH

Dr. James Womack, right, and physician assistant Andrew Rendoff, left, help patients get back on their feet faster using new technology.

Some of us accept knee pain as a part of growing older or as the result of a sports injury. Knee pain can control your life. The good news is that recovery from knee replacement surgery no longer has to take many weeks or even months.

“Our goal is to make people better and to make people’s lives better,” says Dr. James Womack, orthopedic surgeon at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare.

Dr. Womack works in a community hospital and uses technology found only at large hospitals in the Midwest. Mako, a surgical robotic arm, allows him to make precise cuts within 1/10 of a millimeter. The surgery is planned with a 3D model of the patient’s knee. The result is faster recovery and less pain.

“The surgery takes less time, but that’s not because the robot rolls in and runs everything and I sit in the corner,” Dr. Womack says. “Technology allows me to see how the implant will fit and rotate before I ever make a cut. That means fewer cuts and less tugging and pulling, which have been part of the pain involved with knee replacement surgery.”

The proof is in the outcomes, Dr. Womack says.

“Patients are up and walking the night of the surgery,” he says. “Within two weeks, patients see significant improvement. By six weeks, patients have 80 percent recovery. Traditional surgery can have a three-month recovery or longer.”

The robotic technology has a hefty price tag.  Dr. Womack even traveled to Florida to see a Mako robot in action because “I needed to know if it would help us improve results for our patients,” he says.

Craig Thompson, CEO and other leaders at GVMH decided the investment was worth it.

“Having a talented orthopedic team that wants to learn a new skill is part of the success,” says Thompson, referring to Dr. Womack and physician assistant Andrew Rendoff. “We are committed to keeping pace with technology so we are competitive. We don’t want people who live here to find reasons to go other places for services.”

The number of partial and total knee replacement surgeries Dr. Womack performs makes the cost per surgery affordable for GVMH, Thompson says.

“Less than one percent of hospitals use robotics in surgery,” Thompson says. “We’re on the cutting edge.”

To learn more about robotic knee replacement surgery, ask your doctor for a referral.