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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Innovative knee replacement surgery performed at local hospital

The robot, unique in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, is used to perform knee and hip replacement surgeries.

By John McPhaul

The Puerto Rico Orthopedic Center of the UPR-Dr. Federico Trilla Hospital in Carolina has made history by performing the first knee replacement operation with Mako SmartRobotics robotic technology, hospital authorities reported on Tuesday.

The robot, unique in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, is used to perform knee and hip replacement surgeries. The technology benefits the patient by facilitating a faster recovery.

“I am very proud and honored to be able to carry out this historic intervention, the first in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, using the MAKO robot,” said Dr. Antonio Otero López, director of the Orthopedics Program at the School of Medicine, who is a hip and knee specialist. “This technology allows us to develop a personalized pre-surgical plan. The robot records the CT Scan information and the patient’s anatomy; the surgeon analyzes it and makes the necessary adjustments. The robotic arm then makes the cuts, hand in hand with the surgeon. This helps us achieve an individualized replacement surgery, according to the needs of the patient. This contributes to the patient having a faster recovery compared to traditional techniques or technologies.”

Another attribute behind the innovative intervention is that less soft tissue release and dissection gives the patient the opportunity for a quicker and less painful recovery. This should translate into greater patient satisfaction, a shorter stay in the hospital and a more effective and successful rehabilitation, the specialist said.

Yelitza Sánchez, executive director of the UPR-Dr. Federico Trilla Hospital, congratulated “the exceptional surgical team in charge of this historic operation.”

“This team is a sample of the excellent operating room staff that our hospital has,” she said. “Now our Puerto Rico Orthopedic Center strengthens its offer with this million-dollar technology, unique in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, accompanied by the best 100% Board Certified medical faculty and trained in the use of this advanced equipment. Thus we began a new era within our institution and the Orthopedics program of the Medical Sciences Campus. The use of this technology allows us to offer our patients a shorter stay and a faster recovery, while benefiting their quality of life, allowing them to return to their daily activities more quickly.”

Dr. Richard Valentín Blasini, a specialist in hip and knee replacement at the hospital, said “this technology comes to revolutionize the treatment for patients with knee and hip discomfort, since the precision it offers contributes to a better fit for the implant. In this way it is possible to obtain better results for our patients.”

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