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A surgeon and robot team up to enhance Veteran care

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The Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System continually seeks avenues for enhancing the quality of care provided to Veterans.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System continually seeks avenues for enhancing the quality of care provided to Veterans. An exemplary illustration of this commitment lies within its operating rooms, where surgeons employ the Mako robotic-arm assisted robot.

The Mako Robot represents a breakthrough in surgical outcomes for Veterans undergoing total hip and knee replacement procedures. Engineered by Stryker, this robotic-assisted surgical system employs 3D imaging to devise a tailored surgical plan for each patient. Consequently, surgeons can execute precise incisions and achieve more accurate implant placements, thereby resulting in superior outcomes and expedited recovery periods.

"The integration of robotic-assisted technology, exemplified by the Mako system, has revolutionized the field of orthopedic surgeries, particularly total knee and hip arthroplasty," remarked Zeke Walton, M.D., an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Ralph H. Johnson VA HCS. "The collaboration between a skilled surgeon and advanced robotic assistance paves the path toward optimal patient outcomes and contributes to the advancement of surgical techniques in the realm of orthopedics."

Since 2021, surgeons at the Ralph H. Johnson VA HCS have been leveraging the capabilities of the Mako Robot, facilitating over 550 successful surgeries.

The Mako Robot has been proven to enhance patient outcomes through various means. Notably, patients undergoing Mako-assisted procedures experience reduced pain, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recoveries. Furthermore, they exhibit higher satisfaction rates about their surgeries and overall care.

"By harnessing the power of robotic-assisted technology, such as Mako, multiple benefits are derived, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes," stated Kevin Harmon, a Ralph H. Johnson VA HCS Physician Assistant. "The meticulous nature of the robotic system minimizes the risk of errors and complications, thereby enhancing implant alignment, bolstering joint stability, and mitigating postoperative pain."

The Mako Robot does not replace surgeons; rather, it serves as a tool to enhance their performance. The robot does not autonomously make decisions; instead, it provides surgeons with additional information and assists them in executing more precise movements.

"Robotic-assisted surgery assumes paramount importance as it amalgamates the surgeon's expertise with the precision and accuracy of the robotic system,” remarked Dr. Walton. The surgeon's skill, experience, and human touch remain vital in ensuring successful surgeries. The robot constitutes a valuable instrument that augments the surgeon's capabilities by providing precise guidance and feedback. It does not supplant the surgeon but rather extends their expertise, enabling the attainment of the utmost patient outcomes."

The Mako Robot leverages a 3D virtual model of the patient's anatomy to meticulously plan the surgical intervention. This enables the surgeon to scrutinize the patient's bones and tissues in exquisite detail and make preparations to minimize tissue removal.

"Robotic-arm-assisted orthopedic surgery is an indispensable tool within the VA system," declared Dr. Walton. "It empowers surgeons to execute more precise and accurate procedures, resulting in superior outcomes for our honored Veterans. Moreover, the Mako Robot offers a cost-effective solution, as it curtails both hospitalization time and the need for pain medication."

The Ralph H. Johnson VA HCS remains steadfast in its dedication to providing optimal care to Veterans, and the Mako Robot stands as a valuable asset in elevating the quality of care extended to our Nations Heroes.

"The Veterans at the Ralph H. Johnson VA, through their service and sacrifice, have earned our deepest respect and gratitude," expressed Dr. Walton. "By offering this advanced care, we demonstrate our unwavering commitment to honoring their contributions to our country. We consider it a privilege to provide this level of treatment because we possess the necessary expertise, resources, and unwavering dedication to deliver the highest standard of care to our Veterans. It is our responsibility to ensure that they receive the finest available treatments. By utilizing robotic-assisted surgeries, we can significantly enhance their surgical outcomes, improve their overall well-being, and ultimately enrich their quality of life."

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