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Updated on Jun 26, 2013

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Sanford, NC – (June 26, 2013) Most consider knee and hip replacement surgery to be a major operation followed by weeks of painful rehabilitation, but that’s not the case at Central Carolina Hospital (CCH) in Sanford. Developments in robotics are revolutionizing this surgery and the technology is putting younger patients back on their feet, nearly pain-free the next day. CCH is one of eight hospitals in the state to offer a new, less invasive option for people needing knee and hip replacements.

At 49, the only way John Parrish could manage his pain was to stop whatever he was doing and sit down and rest. But he couldn’t do this for long. As a landscaper and irrigation specialist, Parrish was active and accustomed to outdoor work. This was how he earned a living.

“When I kneeled down, I had to keep my left leg out to one side,” said Parrish who lives near Lillington. “I struggled with so much pain, and this wasn’t good for my right knee.”

His challenge was not unusual. More than 21 million people in the U.S. suffer from knee osteoarthritis according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Substantiation: http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/oct12/research1.asp Parrish’s x-ray showed bone on bone. Despite the lengthy and painful rehab he expected, Parrish had decided to have his knee replaced when orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrew Bush told him about the new robotic surgery available at CCH. Dr. Bush suggested the new option would allow him to be back at work within six to 12 weeks.

“John’s young age and the fact that his cartilage loss was confined to the outside compartment of his knee made him an ideal candidate for computer-assisted surgery,” said Dr. Bush who began doing robotic partial knee and hip replacements in February at Central Carolina Hospital.

Knee replacements greatly improve a patient’s quality of life and have been performed in millions of Americans over the last four decades. Some can even last up to 20 years. But at 49, Parrish was considered too young. In fact, surgeons are usually reluctant to replace knees in people younger than 60 because a replacement is likely to wear out while the patient is still young. Combined with the fact that younger patients tend to be more active and expect more from replacements, surgery is recommended for later in life.

Using a 3D model of the knee taken by a CAT scan, the doctor guides the robot arm. The diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced, sparing as much of the patient's healthy bone and surrounding tissue as possible. Operating with such precision was impossible before, and since it's also minimally invasive, recovery is much quicker.

"Resurfacing is taking away the worn out cartilage and a little bit of bone and replacing that part with metal and plastic,” explained Dr. Bush. “The precision of the robotic arm is so much more accurate than what the human body can do because it gives me parameters to follow, and the calculations are within a millimeter. Therefore, the repair is aligned with the patient’s natural knee motion.”

Traditional options for knee repair require a surgeon to cut main ligaments to access diseased bone. They also require long healing times with placement based on the surgeon’s estimation.

Soon after the surgery, John Parrish was up walking around the nurse’s station at CCH. "To have my knee back is pretty remarkable," said Parrish. "I'm able to move around pain free." Parrish is attending regular physical therapy sessions at CCH to retrain his muscles to move naturally. For a long time, his good knee overcompensated for the diseased one.

Technology Eliminates the Guess Work for Hip Replacements, Too
Meanwhile, the breakthrough technology is benefiting hip replacements patients as well. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 200,000 people have hip replacement surgery each year, but achieving the right fit is often a guessing game for surgeons. Substantiation: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00377. Traditionally, a surgeon drills by sight and feel to get rid of arthritic bone and replace it with new parts. The Makoplasty™ powered by RIO® means less pain for hip replacements, too.

“Positioning a traditional hip replacement can be uncertain,” said Dr. Andrew Bush. “If a surgeon is off just a few millimeters, the patient can experience pain. With the robot, we know exactly how deep we need to go.”

At 65, Linda Macormic had suffered with hip pain for years. She had trouble going from a sitting to a standing position. Her joints would lock up from osteoarthritis.

“No one wants to have surgery, but there was nothing else I could do,” said Macormic. “I walked with a limp, and my body over compensated for the pain.”

With the robot, Dr. Bush created a three-dimensional surgery plan ahead of time, and then executed the plan in the operating room. “The robot knows exactly what I want to do and it doesn't allow me make a bad move," said Dr. Bush.

Today, Macormic is retraining her body. For a long time, her healthy hip held weight away from her painful one. Rehabilitation is important and she does exercises every day to strengthen her upper body. Overall, the precision of the robot means less pain and a quicker recovery for the patient.

Central Carolina Hospital is a 137-bed acute care hospital that serves the health care needs of Lee County and surrounding communities. With over 100 physicians on staff, the hospital offers a wide range of specialties including cardiology, orthopedics, general surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, otolaryngology, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, hospitalist services, nephrology, hematology, urology, podiatry, dentistry, pulmonary medicine, primary care provider network, ear nose and throat (ENT) provider network, cardiology provider network and a women’s care provider network. Hospital services include emergency room, physical and occupational therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging and radiology, inpatient and outpatient surgery, maternity services, nutritional counseling by clinical dietitians, and diagnostic cardiac catheterization. CCH is committed to providing quality care close to home and has received countless quality designations and national awards.

Contact: Crystal Hickman
Tel: 919-774-2187
Email: [email protected] or

Contact: Kim Morris
Tel: 919-643-0114
Email: [email protected]

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