Sanford Health in Bismarck seeing successful outcomes using robotic surgical assistant

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Sanford Health in Bismarck is now using a robot to operate on orthopedic patients.

“We’re still making the cuts, the robot is not doing that, it’s just offering us a level of precision we didn’t have before,” Dr. Coridon Huez.

They call it ROSA. It’s an assistant for surgeons performing knee replacements.

Local physicians tell us this is part of an ongoing effort to give patients better long-term outcomes.

“There’s always been a certain level of dissatisfaction. As many as 15 percent of patients have some level of dissatisfaction with their knee replacements. Now we’re ultimately using robotic technology to try and solve that problem,” said Dr. Huez.

Cheryl Keller is among some of the first patients in the area to have had knee replacement surgery, using the new technology.

“It was about two years ago I started really feeling a lot of stabbing pain in my knee. It started getting worse and worse,” said Keller.

Keller and her doctors tried everything from shots to steroids and physical therapy. After nothing seemed to work, they decided knee replacement surgery was her best option.

“I wasn’t quite sure what it all meant. When I went into the surgery room, that’s when I noticed the robotics. And I thought, ‘Wow, this is kind of big,'” said Keller.

Keller tells us she’s healed quickly and wouldn’t have done it any other way.

“I am walking without pain. I walk my dogs a mile morning and night. I love it. I’ve got my life back, more or less. I know went online and looked at the robotics videos afterwards to see what was actually done. And I think I’d rather have it done with the robotics,” said Keller.

Will mechanical and robotic technology become modern medicine? One Sanford orthopedic surgeon says no.

“I think it’s certainly gaining traction in multiple facilities all around the country. Ultimately, I think it does not replace a careful surgeon. I think patients should feel more comfortable in the surgeons they choose than the technology they have,” said Dr. Huez.

Huez does say, though, he plans to use ROSA on all future patients but will use their previous methods for any patient who feels uncomfortable.

The surgery center also hopes to expand its use to hip and partial knee replacements.

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