Sky Ridge is the First Hospital in metro Denver to Perform Innovative Robotic Arm Surgery for Knee Replacement


MAKOplasty® is a new minimally invasive partial knee resurfacing procedure used to treat early to mid-stage osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee—the most common form of arthritis. MAKOplasty, powered by the RIO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic system, offers a more precise and consistent result for partial knee resurfacing.

Benefits of MAKOplasty® over Total Knee Surgery

MAKOplasty® patients may experience:

  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker recovery
  • A smaller incision as compared to total knee replacement

In addition, many return to an active lifestyle within weeks of the procedure. MAKOplasty® can be performed on the inner, top or outer compartment of the knee (unicompartmental knee surgery). It can also be performed as a bicompartmental knee surgery on the inner and top portions of the knee.

"MAKOplasty® allows us to treat patients with knee osteoarthritis at earlier stages and with greater precision. Because it is less invasive and more of the patient's actual knee remains, it offers a more natural knee motion post-operatively," says Susan Hicks, CEO of Sky Ridge.

Partial Knee Resurfacing for Treating Early to Mid-Stage Knee Osteoarthritis

The opportunity for early intervention is important as OA is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. OA leads to pain and limited range of motion. Through its innovative use of technology, MAKOplasty® offers a knee replacement alternative with a new level of precision. When performing MAKOplasty®, our surgeons use the RIO, which features a tactile robotic arm and a 3-D patient specific visualization system.

Robotic Arm Surgery Provides Extreme Precision for Best Results

During the procedure, the system creates a three-dimensional, live-action, virtual view of the patient's bone surface and correlates the image to the pre-programmed surgical plan. As the surgeon uses the robotic arm, its tactile, acoustical and visual feedback limits bone preparation to the diseased areas and provides for more optimal implant positioning and placement for each individual patient.

"Precision is key in planning and performing partial knee surgeries," says Hicks. "For a good outcome, you need to align and position the implants just right. Precision in surgery, and in the pre-operative planning process is what RIO can deliver to our patients."

Frequently Asked Questions about Minimally Invasive MAKOplasty® Partial Knee Surgery

What is the MAKOplasty® procedure?

MAKOplasty Knee Resurfacing Robotic ArmMAKOplasty® partial knee resurfacing is an innovative treatment option for patients living with early to mid-stage knee osteoarthritis disease in the inner, top or outer portion of the knee (unicompartmental knee or uni knee surgery). It can also be performed as a bicompartmental knee surgery.

MAKOplasty® is powered by MAKO’s robotic arm system, which allows for consistent reproducible precision in performing partial knee resurfacing, a challenging procedure with manual techniques. Our specially trained surgeons use MAKO’s FDA-cleared RIO Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System to perform MAKOplasty® through a smaller incision than what is required for traditional manual knee replacement surgery. During the procedure, only the diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced, sparing the patient’s healthy bone and surrounding tissue. An implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again. MAKOplasty® is typically covered by health insurance.

How does the MAKOplasty® procedure work as an alternative to knee replacement surgery?

MAKO’s RIO system features a robotic arm that assists the orthopedic surgeon in several ways. First, it combines patient-specific, three-dimensional modeling for pre-surgical planning. Then, during the procedure, the combination of a robotic arm and computer navigation provide the surgeon with real-time visual, tactile and auditory feedback, enabling reproducible precision and optimal positioning of the implant within the knee.

Who would be a good candidate for MAKOplasty®?

Although the best treatment for each patient must be determined individually, typical MAKOplasty® patients share the following characteristics:

  • Knee pain with activity, on the inner knee, under the knee cap or the outer knee
  • Start-up knee pain for stiffness when activities are initiated from a sitting position
  • Failure to respond to non-surgical treatments or non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication
  • Early- to mid-stage osteoarthritis of the knee and damage is localized to one or two knee compartments
  • Aren’t quite ready for a total-knee replacement and is looking for a less invasive knee surgery
  • Not bow-legged or knock-kneed more than 15 degrees

What are the benefits of MAKOplasty® MIS Knee?

MAKOplasty Knee Surgery Operating RoomThe MAKOplasty® minimally invasive knee surgery (MIS knee) typically allows patients to experience a shorter hospital stay, minimal blood loss, quicker rehab and a smaller scar. In addition, many MAKOplasty® patients are able to return to an active lifestyle within weeks of the procedure.

How long do the implants used in a MAKOplasty® procedure last?

All implants have a limited life expectancy that depends on several factors, including a patient’s weight, activity level, quality of bone stock and compliance with doctor’s orders. However, alignment and positioning are also key factors affecting the life expectancy of an implant. The goal of the MAKOplasty® procedure is to achieve the absolute best alignment and positioning for your implant to help it last as long as possible.

How do I find out which surgeons perform MAKOplasty® at Sky Ridge in Denver?

Give us a call at (720) 225-5DOC (5362) and talk to our Physician Referral Manager.