Robotic assistant helping Lakeland doctors perform knee surgeries

Robot technology is becoming a fast-growing tool at Lakeland Regional Health.

Doctors at Lakeland Regional perform knee replacement surgeries almost every day.

The Robot Surgical Assistant, known as ROSA, is helping improve the precision and accuracy of knee replacements for people of all ages.

"Before using ROSA, we would use a standard instrumentation where we’re manually putting everything into place, and it all goes off the patient’s feel and what they’re seeing," Dr. Eric Wicks said.

Wicks says ROSA works with surgeons in the operating room while they’re performing a knee replacement.

"You can kind of think about it almost as a GPS or a navigation app," Wicks said. "So, while I’m still driving the car, it’s giving me the feedback on, maybe the best way to go."

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He says the robot technology analyzes the patient as surgeons perform the procedure, and gives them real-time feedback.

"So, I can dial everything in to even within a millimeter, half a millimeter of a cut, slight angles if I need to," Wicks said.

ROSA has become a game changer, not only for doctors, but for patients.

One man got a knee replacement one month ago, and is already seeing significant results in his recovery.

"I blew out my knee about 25 years ago, and I had surgery on it, and the surgery didn't take," Erick Graubard said.

Graubard underwent multiple surgeries over the years, but 16 years after his injury, he was still having debilitating pain on a daily basis.

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"I was a big soccer player and I love to play golf and my wife and I, we are active," Graubard said.

Graubard says he finally got a knee replacement with the help of ROSA, and has been making strides in his recovery.

"I can just see how everything is going to be so much better for my lifestyle," Graubard said.

He says he’s looking forward to getting back to living an active life and doing the activities he loves.

Doctors say the younger generations aren’t the only ones who are staying active.

"With our growing population of our elderly patients and our baby boomers, we’re seeing a much larger increase in total joint replacement in that age group," Wicks said.

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Wicks says they’re also seeing more older people come in who want to become more active, especially with the rise of low impact activities like pickleball.

"What I am seeing is people who want to start playing pickleball, and they’re so limited by the pain that they have in their knees and their lower extremity joints, that for them, this could be something where they can actually then start pickleball," Wicks said.

Wicks says ROSA has proven to improve patients’ recovery and their range of motion.

"Allowing us to be more accurate and precise than we’ve ever been able to be," Wicks said.

Doctors expect robot technology like this to continue to lead the way in advancing quality of life for years to come.

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