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Mercy Stories: Knee Replacement with NAVIO Surgical System

Sep 18 2018

Learn about one patient’s life-changing results from this robotic surgery

Kathy Vernace wasn’t sure when the perfect time was going to be to pursue a knee replacement but she hoped she would know when the time was right.

On a visit in late 2017 to her physician, the tears in her eyes let her know she should make the appointment.

“I started crying and my doctor said to me, ‘It’s time, isn’t it?’” Kathy said.

A retired school teacher and an avid runner, Kathy ran a half marathon in 2 hours and 20 mins in 2013. She was then referred to Dr. Richard Miller of Mercy Health – Orthopedic Specialists. At their first meeting, they discussed the NAVIO® robotics-assisted total knee replacement.

What is the NAVIO Surgical System?

Mercy Health is the region’s only health system offering the NAVIO Surgical System. The robot is a tool that surgeons use to correctly size and position the total knee implant with computer and robotic assistance.

The NAVIO System does not perform the procedure. Rather, it assists the surgeon by providing accuracy and precision, which are crucial to the success of the surgery.

When Kathy spoke to Dr. Miller about the benefits of using the robot, she said she told the surgeon that she wanted a promise of a straight, small scar. “We made a deal and shook hands,” Kathy said.

At age 68, Kathy had a total joint replacement in her left knee. The next day, she was up and slowly walking and on her way home.

Thanks to the financial assistance of the Mercy Health Foundation – Toledo, Mercy Health offers both partial and total knee replacement using NAVIO robotics-assisted technology. This means that Mercy Health Orthopedics surgeons can guarantee consistent results, accurately placed components. And customized planning, all with no CT-scan required.

“Knee pain should never keep someone from living the life that they want,” Dr. Miller said. “The NAVIO procedure allows us to create an individualized plan based on each patient’s unique anatomy, allowing us to achieve precise positioning of components during surgery. This level of accuracy can help improve the function, feel and potential longevity of the knee implant.”

Results of a knee replacement with the NAVIO robot

After 3 months with her new knee, Kathy was bending it 130 degrees, a feat that her physical therapists told her was “way ahead of the curve.” But more importantly, Kathy is living with a significantly less amount of pain.

Kathy believes it was a combination of both her surgeon’s skills and the NAVIO robot that helped in her recovery. She also highly credits her own activity and exercising in the weeks leading up to surgery and would recommend other patients to prepare similarly.

“Anything that’s going to make it more accurate or easier for the surgeons, I’d think that’s the way to go and in this case it is with new and innovative technology,” she said. “When I went back for my six-week checkup, I was happy to see that what once was a large incision was really a very small scar. Dr. Miller said to me, ‘Boy, that’s one of the straightest, smallest scars I’ve ever seen.’”

Kathy said that the whole experience was nothing like what she had imagined and had she known how smooth the procedure would be and how effectively she would recover, “I would have done this a lot sooner.”

NAVIO robotics-assisted technology for partial and total knee joint replacement is available at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center, Mercy Health – St. Charles Hospital and Mercy Health – St. Anne Hospital.

Visit our website to find an orthopedic surgeon near you today.

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