Mako SmartRoboticsTM

Understanding knee pain and arthritis

To get a better idea of why your knee hurts, let’s look at how it works. Your knee is the largest joint in your body, and it works a lot like a hinge. Three bones come together to form the joint: the lower end of the thigh bone (the femur), the upper end of the shin bone (the tibia), and then the kneecap (the patella) right above where the long bones meet. Tough bands called ligaments help keep everything in place and stable.

Cartilage provides cushioning, keeps bones from rubbing together, and absorbs the shock of walking, running, and jumping. Your body also produces a natural lubricating fluid called synovium that minimizes friction in the joint. When everything is working smoothly, you don’t have to think about the mechanics of your knee. When something’s wrong, it can feel debilitating.

Your knee pain may be due to chronic swelling or inflammation in the joint – most often referred to as arthritis. Below are common forms of arthritis associated with knee pain.

With osteoarthritis, the cushioning cartilage at the end of the femur may have worn down, making walking painful as bone rubs against bone.

With rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes called inflammatory arthritis, a person’s immune system attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion.

With post-traumatic arthritis, a less common form of arthritis, a broken or fractured bone extends into the joint space, causing the surface to become uneven. Over time, friction causes the joint to break down and become arthritic.

Total Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure in which a diseased or damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint called an implant.

Made of metal alloys and high-grade plastics (to better match the function of bone and cartilage respectively), the implant is designed to move much like a healthy human joint. Over the years, knee replacement techniques and instrumentation have undergone countless improvements. The key characteristic of these techniques is the use of smaller incisions. Such improvement may result in less trauma to soft tissue.

What is a Robotic-Arm Assisted Joint Replacement Surgery?

Robotic arm-assisted joint replacement surgery uses a CT scan or X-ray data and software to generate a 3D virtual model of your unique anatomy to help your surgeon create a personalized preoperative plan. When preparing the bone for the implant, the surgeon guides the robotic arm within the predefined area. This helps provide more accurate placement and alignment of your implant. During surgery, the surgeon validates the plan and makes any necessary adjustments in real time, while the robotic arm allows the surgeon to execute the plan with a high level of accuracy and predictability. The combination of these three features of the system has the potential to lead to better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

In a 2016 global survey assessing public perceptions about robotic-assisted surgery, 72% of respondents indicated robotic-assisted surgery was safer, faster and less painful or offered better results than minimally invasive conventional surgery.Reference: Boys, J. A., Alicuben, E. T., DeMeester, M. J., Worrell, S. G., Oh, D. S., Hagen, J. A., & DeMeester, S. R. (2016). Public perceptions on robotic surgery, hospitals with robots, and surgeons that use them. Surgical endoscopy, 30(4), 1310–1316. 2016. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-015-4368-6