Robotic Device Aids Knee-Replacement Surgery

WILKES-BARRE -- Wilkes-Barre General Hospital showed off a robotic device on Wednesday that the hospital says is the first of its kind in northeastern Pennsylvania. It's a tool that leads to accuracy and potentially quicker recovery periods for knee-replacement surgeries.

The small robotic device is the Navio Surgical System. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital tells Newswatch 16 it is the first of its kind in northeastern Pennsylvania. The handheld device hooks up to a screen, enabling surgeons to have meticulous accuracy when it comes to knee-replacement surgeries.

The system doesn't require a pre-surgery CT scan and typically results in smaller incisions, which could lead to quicker recovery periods.

"We map the knee with this device and we show the computer where the knee is and that essentially is a CT scan. Then I can look on the screen and see this knee blown up a little bit with a computer," explained Dr. Michael Raklewicz, chief of orthopedics.

Doctors say the greatest benefit of this new technology is its pinpoint precision. The precision leads to better alignment which could, in turn, lead to the knee replacement lasting longer.

"I feel more confident knowing that the computer is guiding me as far the ligament structure and the alignment. The alignment that I've been able to achieve in the several that we've already done here at the hospital is remarkable," Dr. Raklewicz said.

One Luzerne County man has had two knee replacement surgeries, the latest with this technology. He says he already notices a difference.

"So far, I noticed I'm much further ahead than I was with the first operation six years ago. Even an hour after the operation, I was moving my knee to a much greater extent than I was with the first time," said Gail Scott.