Innovative Knee Surgery
Channel 9 Health Alert: Patient testimony of how an innovative new knee procedure performed by Dr. Aram at Fair Oaks Hospital dramatically improved his quality of life. March 23, 2011.
Written by Amy Leone
Danilo Vargas has spent years as an international flight attendant and suffered with severe osteoarthritis in his knee.
FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) – Danilo Vargas has spent years as an international flight attendant and suffered with severe osteoarthritis in his knee. The long hours of standing on planes and walking across airports took their toll on Danilo’s knee. The pain became so severe it started to hinder the 62-year-old’s everyday life and livelihood.
“I am very active and to me, I was getting depressed. It was effecting me, because I couldn’t do the things I like to do,” Danilo said.
He had physical therapy, cortisone shots and other treatments, but nothing completely alleviated the pain. His doctor told him the next step would be surgery, and he recommended a new, less invasive option called MAKOplasty.
INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital is the only hospital doing the procedure and Dr. Tony Aram is one of three surgeons utilizing the MAKO RIO robot in the DC metro area. MAKOplasty is partial knee resurfacing, and it replaces the need for patients to have a total joint replacement when only part of the cartilage is worn away. Dr. Aram can do that with the help of a surgical robotic arm nicknamed RIO.
“During surgery, the surgeon actually registers the patients anatomy into the computer and when those match up and are validated, the robot can execute that operation. And basically the precision of the robot is phenomenal. It is razor edge precision,” Dr. Aram said.
He said the incision is smaller and can be performed on an outpatient basis. He will smooth out any damaged bone and then put in an implant to allow the knee joint to move smoothly again.
The benefit of this type of surgery for patients is tremendous.
Dr. Aram said, “Number one, they get to preserve a large percentage of their normal knee and the ligaments. The second thing is because you are doing this operation so perfectly each time, the patient has a more natural feel and some of the side benefit of this is that it is less pain because the operation is less invasive. Patient returns to activities much quicker.”
Dr. Aram also said he tells people compared to total knee replacement MAKOplasty patients have a third less recovery time.
Danilo couldn’t believe how quickly he was back on his feet and back in the air doing what he loves.
“It has improved my life 100 percent. I recommend it highly to everybody or anybody,” Danilo said.
MAKOplasty wouldn’t work for someone who has severe arthritis and has damage in all three compartments of the knee. Most insurance companies cover this type of procedure.