Surgeon at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest says new robot-assisted knee procedure is changing lives

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Doctors at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest have been doing robotic assisted joint replacement for about a year, recently performed their 500th surgery, and are very encouraged by the results.

The patients seem happy with the results, too.

Steve Willis will turn 72 years old soon and his knees have been showing the signs of years of hard work, climbing ladders and carrying materials for construction projects.

“The shots were no longer working to provide some relief. It even got to the point where I fell two or three times where my knee buckled and gave out on me. Not only a danger, but it was where I was no longer able to work,” Willis said.

His doctor suggested a knee replacement but not the conventional kind. His surgeon wanted to use a relatively new procedure where the surgeon is assisted by a robot.

Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest surgeon David Ferguson said the new procedure this allows the surgeon to use a 3-D computer tomography scan of the patient’s joint and customize the surgery to each patient’s unique anatomy.

This means less cutting, blood loss, and a faster recovery.

“Multiple clinical studies have shown that by using robotic assisted surgery, patients can recover faster, experience less pain, less blood loss and have higher satisfaction after joint replacement because of better clinical outcomes,” Ferguson said.

Willis had his first knee replaced in August, the second in November.

After several weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy, he resumed an active lifestyle.

“Six weeks later, I was at EPCOT and walked 23,000 steps in one day, which is about NINE miles. A couple of weeks ago, I got back from Rocky Mountain National Park hiking the trails and over the rocks. Not only could I do the things that I used to do, I was able to do things I haven’t done in years,” Willis said.

Ferguson said he is so encouraged by the results of the robotic assisted surgery, that he recommended it for his own mother. “I get a glimpse from my patients, how they do, when I see them in the office but, really, seeing how my own mother did,, it just changed her life,” Ferguson said.

Willis says it changed his life, too.

He says he feels like a new man and has no plans for slowing down. “I feel like I’ve gotten a new lease on life,” he said.

Ferguson says robotic assisted surgery is quickly becoming the preferred choice for patients and surgeons.

He feels the types of surgeries they’re able to do robotically will no doubt expand in the near future.

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