Hospital adds robotics-assisted surgical system to team to assist on knee replacement surgeries

It’s a system that takes a 3D image of the knee.
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 6:01 PM CDT
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WABASHA, Minn. (KTTC) – There are some major technological advances at a rural hospital in Southeast Minnesota. Orthopedic surgeons at Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s in Wabasha are using this robot called CORI to assist them in knee replacement procedures.

It’s a system that takes a 3D image of the knee which then assists the surgeon in creating a plan for how a replacement will be made.

“80-85 percent of knee replacement patients have excellent long-term outcomes and good pain relief, but there’s always been about 15-20 percent of patients where they’re either satisfied or maybe not as satisfied,” Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Orthopedic Surgeon Tom Dudley, M.D., P.H.D. said.

Dr. Dudley is still the person making the cuts and doing the actual surgery, but CORI can make a more accurate and efficient guide.

“Transitioning into robotics surgery is a means to try to improve that 15-50 percent,” he said.

It’s been at the hospital a little more than a month and has been used in every knee replacement procedure since it arrived there.

“We think that improving those things can improve patient outcomes and functions with their knee replacement,” Dr. Dudley said.

It’s a surgery performed weekly at this rural hospital, and surgeons, nurses and physical therapists say it’s made a great addition to the team.

“After a knee replacement, our biggest goal is to get that range of motion, strength and essentially the function back for the patient,” Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s Physical Therapist Adrienne Tryan said.

Robotic technology is growing in the medical field, and Dr. Dudley doesn’t see these advancements stopping anytime soon.

“This is the one that really seems to have the teeth and the staying power which is why I felt it appropriate and important to add it to what we do here in Wabasha,” he said.

CORI has also been used to assist surgeons during hip replacements at other hospitals, and officials at Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s say it’s definitely something they’re looking into.