At 75 years old, Milton Schiffenbauer is nowhere close to slowing down. The busy biology professor has classes to teach and a research laboratory to run. He doesn’t like to be out of his office for too long. So, when he found out that he was going to need not one, but two knee replacements, he was concerned about what the recovery might be like.
“You hear things about how tough it can be—it can be a real challenge to get back up on your feet,” he said.
Luckily, the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Orthopedics offers robotic joint replacement procedures. Matthew Hepinstall, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital, said hip and knee replacements are now very routine procedures that help thousands of people retain their independence and mobility each year. Yet, for some patients, traditional manual surgery for joint replacements can lead to long, arduous recoveries, and do not provide the expected excellent long-term result. Robotic joint replacement technology offers patients a more precise surgical option—improving outcomes and reducing recovery time.
“Robotic surgery really is about making these surgeries more patient-specific,” Dr. Hepinstall said. “And that allows us to be more precise and accurate when fitting the new joint, putting in an implant that will restore that patient’s anatomy the best.”
Milton’s procedure began with a CT scan of his bone at the site of the joint that was being replaced. This allowed for a creation of a 3D computer model of the bone and joint. With that model in place, Dr. Hepinstall was able to make better informed clinical decisions about the size of the joint replacement implant—and how it should best be fitted to Milton’s bone.
“Before robotics, we had to make educated guesses about what size to use and what the mechanical consequences might be if we sized up or down,” he said. “Now, with this system, we can move the part around in three dimensions and understand where to best place it.”