5 things to know about robotic-assisted surgery


Dr. Matthew Hummel of OrthoCincy is about to join a very select group of physicians nationwide performing robotic-assisted, total knee replacement surgery.

Hummel expects to complete accreditation in early February and to be performing the procedure here by late March or early April. He is already scheduling appointments for knee replacements using the new technology. “I have people waiting for it,” he said.

For about a decade, Hummel and others have used robotics to perform partial knee replacements. In August 2015, Stryker, a Fortune 500 medical technology firm, got FDA approval for use of its Triathlon total knee replacement on the Mako robotic system, which Stryker had purchased two years earlier.

“To be honest, Mako had the technology but not the hardware,” Hummel said. “Stryker makes an excellent implant, so it’s a great marriage.”


Here are five things to know about robotic-assisted total knee replacements:

  1. It’s the same procedure. Your knee replacement won’t be any less effective or durable if robotics were used in your surgery; in fact, there are benefits to patients. “That’s the most important thing to know,” Hummel said.
  2. The Mako robot offers the best possible precision of any instrument on the market, Hummel said.
  3. This procedure matches the implant to the patient better than any other current technology. Using a CT scan and 3D imaging, your surgeon can better ensure your implant fits the contours of your body.
  4. The procedure is less invasive, with less disruption of tissue. Hummel said if the robotic strays by half- to one millimeter, it shuts down automatically. “It’s more efficient, safer surgery.”
  5. As a result, patients experience quicker recovery times.

“There are doctors who will say, ‘Great, but I’ve been doing it just fine for 30 years,’” Hummel said. “This is simply a newer tool to improve the quality of outcomes for our patients.

“I keep going back to this analogy: I can measure and cut boards to build my house and they’ll be just fine. Or I can use a laser-guided miter saw and make them perfect. The surgeon is still doing the work. This is just another tool for the surgeon.”


robotic-assisted surgery