SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville will begin using new technology later this month to accommodate a growing need for orthopedic services.

The Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System will make its debut in Rock County at the end of the month, said Ben Layman, president of St. Mary’s Hospital.

The system will be used for full knee, partial knee and full hip replacements, Layman said.

Rock County has an aging population, and many people are leading active lifestyles longer than ever before, Layman said. As bodies age, knees and hips often cause the most pain.

The machine will allow the hospital to deliver less invasive and more accurate surgeries, Layman said.

It works by creating a 3D image of the joint from a CT scan. The surgeon can see in real-time what the inside of a knee or hip looks like without making incisions, Layman said.

The image is used during surgery like GPS, guiding a surgeon who operates via robotic arms, Layman said.

With traditional surgery, surgeons make large—sometimes 12 to 36-inch— incisions before knowing what the patient needs, Layman said. Incisions with Mako are reduced to about 5 or 6 inches because surgeons know what to expect before surgery.

Mako will increase efficiency and reduce costs for the hospital, Layman said. Surgeries will require less equipment to be prepped and sterilized before surgery.

Increased accuracy brings decreases in blood loss, incision size, pain, risk of complications and revisions, Layman said. Patients typically recover faster because of smaller incisions.

The technology has been available since 2006. Janesville residents currently have to travel to Madison or Schaumburg, Illinois, to receive its services.

Brian Keyes, orthopedic surgeon, said he has seen successful outcomes while using Mako at Indiana University Hospital. He soon will be joining St. Mary’s orthopedic staff providing joint replacement services.

The addition of Keyes is complementary to the new technology, Layman said.

Keyes, a Janesville native, said the hospital has been “forward thinking” in its investment in technology.

The hospital’s surgeons already have been certified in using Mako, and orthopedic staff soon will wrap up training, Layman said.

“This is one of those clinical advances that really facilitates the opportunity for Rock County to be healthier at the end of the day,” Layman said. “It encourages people to be active and take advantage of this opportunity to live an active lifestyle.”


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