Avera Medical Minute: Robotic device helps add precision and accuracy to surgical procedures

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 9:17 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As medical technology continues to advance, surgeons are receiving more assistance in the operating room.

At Avera, some orthopedic surgery procedures such as knee or hip replacements are utilizing “Mako” robotic-assisted surgical technology.

Surgeons say the devices add precision and accuracy to procedures, giving patients like Angie Goettertz more peace of mind.

“I can go for walks, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t ride a bike, I can do those things again now,” said Goettertz.

In June of 2020, Goettertz underwent surgery for bilateral knee replacement, that’s both knees replaced at the same time.

“I came back to work 3 months later. Good for the most part, just a little swelling and stiffness. I’d say about 6 months out, great. Now a year out, amazing.”

Goetterz had suffered through knee pain for decades before deciding to move forward with the procedure.

“I couldn’t straighten my one leg anymore, so I walked constantly with a limp, which then hurt other joints in my body. I couldn’t sleep at night, I’d wake up with pain in the leg. So it was just to the point where it was affecting daily life and just decided to enjoy my days vs struggle through it,” she said.

Dr. Travis Liddell is an orthopedic surgeon at Avera. He performs surgeries like the one Goettertz had last summer.

Oftentimes, those surgeries are assisted by a Mako robotic device.

“Some people have some misnomers about what the robot is. What they picture is the robot by the patient and I’m in a back room drinking my coffee with a remote control. That’s not really what it is in orthopedics, its more of a cutting instrument,” he said.

Having the assurance of a successful procedure made Goettertz even more confident in her decision to undergo knee replacement surgery.

It’s a decision that she says has had a lasting impact on her life.

“As a nurse in a clinic, I’m not on my feet quite as much but even just those little things, taking a patient to a room and interacting with patients, doing patient care. I can do those completely pain free now,” she said.

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