Avera Medical Minute: Robotic Surgery Options Come To Yankton Region

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 9:54 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It may sound like science fiction, but robotic surgery systems continue to become a regular occurrence in the operating room across our region.

Avera Sacred Heart Hospital is one of the more recent facilities to add robots to their OR.

“I was having excruciating left knee pain and being an old nurse, I thought, it’ll go away. And finally, it got to the point where I just couldn’t tolerate it anymore,” said Elizabeth Aaning, an Orthopedic Patient. “So I went to see Dr. Kudera. I said, ‘When I’m ready, that I should probably have a total knee done,’ and then explained about this new robotic knee replacement,” said Elizabeth Aaning.

“When we’re doing a knee replacement worries resurfacing the ends of the femur, the tibia, and the patella, which are the three articulating areas of a knee replacement. So an arthritic knee, it’s worn out. There’s lots of arthritis. The cartilage is worn away where resurfacing those areas with a prosthetic device now made of metal and plastic. And we’re doing it in a way to get the alignment of that knee back to more normal, to get it balanced so it functions and lasts for the patient and ultimately give them pain relief,” said Dr. Jeremy Kudera, an Orthopedic Surgeon from Yankton Medical Clinic.

“The robot really helps with the precision of the cuts with the saw, so that just like with anything, the more precise you can make that cut, the better the component fits. And that’s one of those things when you’re when you’re trying to balance a knee, you know the feel of it. I really like the outcome in the operating room. So it makes me feel good when I leave the operating room,” said Dr. Kudera.

“The next day I was full weight bearing using a walker up and about was great. Just activities of daily living are a lot easier and it’s not painful, so I don’t have any pain anymore in my knee. And look, I was at the doctor’s yesterday. I had my post-X-rays and it was spectacular,” said Aaning.

“I mean, it’s just spectacular how that has improved. So I’m very happy. I’m going, to be honest. When this all started, I was a bit of a skeptic. So it’s one of those things I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon right away, you know? But once I’ve been able to get my hands on it and do it and do it live now with patients, I’m totally sold on the true benefit of this new robotic system,” said Dr. Kudera.

Not every case may require the use of the robotic system, but it is an option available from all orthopedic surgeons in the Yankton region.

For more information about robotic surgery options, go to Avera.org/MedicalMinute