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Surgeon uses robotic arm for procedures

Robotics-assisted surgery helps with accuracy

Good Morning El Paso:...

EL PASO, Texas - The use of technology is helping one surgeon with accuracy when it comes to surgical procedures.

Dr. Alvaro Hernandez, an orthopedic surgeon at The Hospitals of Providence- Sierra Campus, uses the RIO (Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System) technique when one of his patients is need of a total knee replacement or a partial knee resurfacing.

The surgery, also known as MAKOplasty, is a surgeon-controlled robotic arm system that combines computer imaging with an intelligent instrumentation. It allows the surgeon to precisely place an implant that has been selected for the patient's knee.

"We are one of the few places in the country where  that actually have it right now it hasnt been released all over yet," said Dr. Hernandez, who has been using the technique for about five years.

Hernandez said the robotic arm helps keep the surgeon's cutting device in the exact position needed for the operation making the incision smaller and more accurate.

"It's like having a power saw versus a hand saw, " Dr. Hernandez said.

The surgery can be performed through a four to six inch incision over the knee with small incisions in the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shin).

"There's no pain, this is awesome," said one of Dr. Hernandez's patients, who had a total knee replacement about three months ago.

Dr. Hernandez reassures patients that it's not the robotic arm doing the surgery.

"This thing does not do the operation by itself, we are holding the robotic arm while we do the procedure," Hernandez said.

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