Robotic Knee Surgery

Partial knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgery option that can postpone and potentially eliminate the need for a full knee replacement. It can also mean a shorter recovery time. More than 90% of our patients go home the very same day.

This procedure uses the MAKO medical robot, which uses a robotic arm and visualization techniques to prepare the knee joint for reproducible bone shaping, implant insertion and alignment – all through a minimal incision.

Candidates for MAKOplasty®

Although the best treatment for each patient must be determined individually, typical MAKOplasty® patients share the following characteristics:

  • Knee pain with activity, usually on the inner knee and/or under the kneecap
  • Start up knee pain or stiffness when activities are initiated from a sitting position
  • Failure to respond to non-surgical treatments or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication

The MAKO Experience

Patient Benefits

MAKOplasty® partial knee resurfacing can:

  • Enable the preservation of healthy tissue and bone
  • Result in a more natural feeling knee following surgery
  • Result in a more rapid recovery and shorter hospital stay when compared to traditional knee replacement surgery
  • Be performed on an outpatient basis
  • Promote a rapid relief from pain and return to daily activities

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Procedure

MAKOplasty® can be performed as either an inpatient procedure or on an outpatient basis depending on what your surgeon determines is the right course of treatment for you. Hospital stays can average anywhere from one to three days. If the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, patients return home the same day.

In many cases, patients are permitted to walk soon after surgery, drive a car within two weeks and return to normal daily activities shortly thereafter.


Like other knee arthroplasty procedures, MAKOplasty® is covered by most Medicare-approved and private health insurance providers.

Please speak with your physician to determine your healthcare benefits, and if MAKOplasty® may be the right treatment option for you.

How does MAKOplasty® Work?

Before surgery, a CT scan is taken of the patient's knee, and a 3D model created using the RIO system's software. From this model, a pre-surgical plan is developed for the positioning of implants based on that patient's unique anatomy.

To ensure implants are optimally positioned and that the soft tissues of the knee are balanced for a good surgical outcome, surgeons can test and fine tune the plan before surgery by moving the leg through different ranges of motion. The RIO provides measurements and visualization, and the surgeon adjusts the plan as needed.

Once the surgical plan is finalized, it is programmed into the RIO, which creates a safety zone for bone removal. While the surgeon guides the robotic arm and is in control of it at all times, the RIO ensures that bone removal stays with the safety zone of the surgical plan, providing auditory, visual and tactile feedback, stopping the robotic arm if necessary before bone can be removed outside the planned area. Once the bone preparation is complete, the implants are placed in the knee.

Lifespan of a MAKOplasty® Implant

The life expectancy of all implants depends on several factors including the patient’s weight, activity level, quality of bone stock and compliance with their physician’s orders. Proper implant alignment and precise positioning during surgery are also very important factors that can improve the life expectancy of an implant.

Through the use of MAKO's RIO™ robotic arm system, implants can be optimally aligned and positioned to ensure the longest benefit. RESTORIS® MCK implants enable the treatment of one or two compartments with OA disease. With single compartment disease, a second compartment may be treated in the future if OA spreads.

In addition, because very little bone is actually removed during a MAKOplasty® procedure, the implants can be replaced with another procedure such as a total knee replacement, if necessary.

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

  1. Is osteoarthritis a factor in my knee pain?
  2. Will reducing activity, taking pain or prescription medication, getting injections or adding physical therapy help ease my pain?
  3. Would a knee replacement or partial knee resurfacing procedure provide relief from my knee pain?
  4. Am I a candidate for the MAKOplasty® partial knee resurfacing procedure?
  5. What are the benefits and risks involved with knee replacement surgery or the MAKOplasty® procedure?
  6. How long will it take to recover from a total knee replacement surgery? From a MAKOplasty® procedure?
  7. How long can I expect the implant to last?
  8. How does my age affect the proper treatment for my condition?

Revolutionary Procedure Developed by Kenmore Mercy Physician

Up until recently, the general approach for arthritic knees and other knee issues has been to use cortisone shots and eventually replace the entire knee joint, which is comprised of three compartments. Surgeons were unable to isolate a specific compartment manually, and therefore would remove and replace the entire knee. This rather invasive procedure required a lot of recovery time and pain management, not to mention a large scar.

John Repicci, DDS, MD, a dentist turned orthopedic surgeon, noted that the knee functions much like that of teeth, with more than 90 percent of damage to the joint affecting just the inner portion and reasoned that replacing the entire knee was excessive. It was he who developed the afore mentioned unicondylar knee implant.

By using the MAKO TGS system to replicate Dr. Repicci’s technical skills, hospitals across the United States are saving thousands of dollars.