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Wilcox Health, which encompasses Wilcox Medical Center and Kauai Medical Clinic (KMC), has been a leader in the field of orthopedic care for a number of years.
Located at KMC’s main Lihue branch, the Wilcox Bone & Joint Center became the first in the state to offer the robotics-assisted total knee replacement procedure in 2017.
This minimally invasive surgery preserves the ACL and PCL (ligaments that stabilize the knee) and restores normal knee biomechanics.
“It is truly a total knee resurfacing where minimal bone is removed to make room for a cap that covers the worn surfaces so they become smooth. The end result for patients is a knee that feels more ‘natural’ with a high level of range of motion and stability,” says KMC Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. David Rovinsky, who was one of the first surgeons to perform this procedure.
“The benefits of using more-precise instrumentation to do total knee replacements are many, including better mechanical alignment of the implant, less-invasive surgery, shorter hospital stays, reduced care costs, better patient function, and a quicker return to high-level activities,” adds Dr. Derek Johnson, also an orthopedic surgeon with the Wilcox Bone & Joint Center.
The robotic system works in conjunction with the surgeon’s skilled hands to achieve the accurate positioning of the knee replacement components based on each patient’s unique anatomy.
Through an advanced computer program, precise information about the patient’s knee is relayed to a robotics-assisted hand piece used by surgeons during the procedure.
“The system enables us to create a 3D, real-time model of each patient’s knee in the operating room,” says Johnson. “By collecting patient-specific data, boundaries are established for the hand piece so we can remove the damaged surfaces of the knee, balance the joint and position the implant with great accuracy.”
He adds that this extra level of accuracy can help improve the function, feel and potential longevity of the knee implant.
“We are able to execute the computer-designed plan to within 0.1 degrees or 0.1mm of accuracy!” Johnson says.
“Many people don’t realize all the advances and improvements that have happened here at Wilcox Medical Center,” says Rovinsky. “Patients travel to Kauai from the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and even the mainland to get total hip and total knee surgery at Wilcox. We also are a Visiting Surgeon Center, and surgeons from around the world come to Wilcox to observe total joint replacement surgery and learn our surgical techniques.”
To find out more about the Wilcox Bone & Joint Center and the state-of-the-art technology currently being offered to patients on Kauai and beyond, visit WilcoxHealth.org/Robotics.
Joint replacement surgery – is it right for you?
While most patients who undergo joint replacement experience a dramatic relief in knee pain and are better able to perform common activities, surgery may not necessarily be right for you.
“For patients who have mild pain from osteoarthritis, it is often manageable with conservative treatment, like anti-inflammatory medication, injections or physical therapy,” says Johnson.
Keeping your joints moving also is a good preventive step in the right direction.
“Motion promotes a healthy biology inside the joints so the cartilage stays healthier,” says Johnson.
In addition, the muscles surrounding the joints should stay strong and flexible to protect the joint and the cartilage by decreasing the overall forces seen by the cartilage.
“However, if you find that after conservative measures you’re still having difficulty playing tennis, or hiking, or going for a long walk with your loved one – when you find that you are no longer doing the things that you enjoy and love to do – that is when it’s time to consider joint replacement surgery,” Johnson says.
For more helpful tips to protect your joints though lifestyle adjustments, visit Hawaii Pacific Health’s health and wellness blog, HealthierHawaii.org.