WAYNE, NJ – It has only been in futuristic, science fiction movies that robots perform surgery; until now. That future is here in Wayne. Elite Surgical Center on the Hamburg Turnpike is now offering robotic-assisted total joint replacement surgery. The robot does not actually perform the surgery; it helps guide the surgeon to improve outcomes and recovery time, allowing for same-day, outpatient surgery.
“Total joint-replacement surgery can be intimidating. There are people who have been putting this off, despite near-constant discomfort, because of their fear of hospitals, especially during this pandemic,” said Elite CEO, Dennis Simmons. “Now they don’t have to go into a hospital for this surgery, and they don’t have to stay overnight. They can be home recovering where they will feel most comfortable.”
Utilizing robotic-arm assisted total knee, partial knee and total hip replacements with Stryker’s Mako System, the surgical staff at Elite can perform these same-day, outpatient procedures on patients who qualify medically.
Simmons modeled his program after a similar one at St. Cloud Hospital in Minnesota, which is the second-oldest ambulatory surgery center in the country.
When he traveled to St. Cloud to see the Mako system in action, Simmons was astounded by the robot arm’s ability to provide a more precise and predictable procedure.
“I’ve seen a lot of orthopedic surgery, and I was duly impressed the first time I went up to Minnesota to see the robot and how it helps and guides the surgeon,” Simmons said. “The robot technology minimizes the soft tissue injury and helps size the implants.”
Focused predominantly on orthopedic procedures, Elite was one of the first freestanding ambulatory surgery centers in northern New Jersey to offer robotic-arm assisted total knee, partial knee and total hip replacements with Stryker’s Mako System.
Simmons noted that unlike the da Vinci surgical system, which is controlled by a surgeon from a console outside the operatic field, a surgeon is working alongside the Mako robot throughout the procedure.
“Let’s say you’re going to have your knee done. They take a CT (computed tomography) scan of your knee and upload this into the robot,” Simmons explained. “The robot shows the surgeon where to make the cuts, and it sizes the implants for a more exact fit. It helps guide the surgeon, who actually holds on to the arm of the robot. It’s not that the robot is performing the surgery, it simply helps the surgeon by guiding him, and it won’t let him work outside the field.”
PROVIDING PEACE OF MIND
While awaiting their total joint replacement surgery, many patients have questions about the procedure and concerns about what to expect post-op. At Elite, putting a patient’s mind at ease is a top priority. To accomplish this and remove any lingering fears of the unknown, Elite brings patients in for a mandatory orientation a week before their scheduled surgery.
During this visit, patients meet with the anesthesiologist who will discuss pain management during and after the procedure. They will also be introduced to staff members who will be there on the day of their surgery. Additionally, they meet with a physical therapist, who will explain that once they have recovered from the anesthesia, they will start walking.
“It really helps if the patient knows what the expectation is, and that way for the day of surgery, they’re obviously nervous, but they’re less nervous,” Simmons said.
Before leaving Elite, patients complete an hour of physical therapy and then continue with a home-based therapy program they have arranged previously through their surgeon.
Simmons added that one of the keys to Elite’s successful surgical outcomes is patient selection. While the concept of outpatient total joint replacement surgery is appealing, not everyone is a candidate.
“You’ve got to have a healthy patient who doesn’t have other health issues,” he said. “That’s why a lot of joint replacements are done in the hospital. Older patients, who are in their 60s and 70s, who’ve got other health issues, those are the kind of patients who would not be candidates for same-day total joint replacement surgery.”
MORE COMFORT, LESS WAITING
Often patients facing surgery at a hospital find themselves enduring long waits as emergencies may take precedence and delay the start time for their procedure. At Elite, scheduled surgeries are never bumped by unexpected circumstances. Patients having surgery arrive one hour before their procedure, which they can rest assured will start on time. Offering additional peace of mind, Elite’s surgical staff members do not work nights or weekends, which leaves them fresh and eager to attend to patients’ needs.
“Elite is a licensed, accredited, Medicare-certified facility, and we want our patients to feel comfortable in coming here,” Simmons said.
For more information, visit www.elitesurgicalctr.com or call (973) 790-7700.