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Am I a candidate for a robotic partial knee replacement?

The Palm Beach Post’s “Ask the Expert” column features Martin W. Roche, MD, knee surgeon and director of Hip and Knee Arthroplasty at HSS Florida, discussing the factors for determining when patients are proper candidates for a robotic partial knee replacement.

Dr. Roche explained the knee is divided into three compartments: Medial (inside), lateral (outside), and patellar (kneecap). The surgeon will determine if one compartment needs to be replaced or will require a total knee replacement. Thanks to the precision of robotics, the partial option is becoming more common, with the replacements lasting now around 15-20 years.

Dr. Roche cited partial knee arthroplasty (PKA) is a viable surgical option for patients with endstage, unicompartmental (one compartment) osteoarthritis. Major advantages of PKA compared to total knee arthroplasty (TKA) include quicker recovery, less pain, and a lower complication rate. Age and activity level do not affect you as a candidate. Patients undergoing a PKA can expect a 96% chance of returning to preoperative activity levels, and 90% maintain or experience improvement in their sporting activities. In contrast, dissatisfaction rates hover between 14% and 20% for TKA.

Robotics allows surgeons to customize surgery and perform it safely, efficiently, and accurately, added Dr. Roche. The robot assists the surgeon in resecting millimeters of bone accurately, so the implant fits perfectly. Once the implants are cemented patients can start walking on their leg in under an hour. Patients can even go home the same day. Usually, after two to three weeks of therapy patients can resume their own exercise program, as motion and stability return quickly.

This article appeared in the print edition on March 21, 2021.