By Adam Klein, MD

Total hip replacement surgery once took several hours to complete and required almost a two-week hospital stay. Now, WVU Medicine orthopaedic surgeons can perform the operation with robotic assistance in just about an hour followed by a one- or two-night hospital stay. 

Dr. Adam Klein

While the surgical time and length of hospital stay has decreased considerably over the years, the procedure still involves replacing a diseased or damaged joint with an artificial ball and socket. The success of total hip replacement is very much dependent on accurate insertion of the prosthesis. Historically, the accuracy with which we implanted the prosthesis largely depended on expertise and experience. Perfection, however, has been elusive.

This is where a computer and a surgical robot enter the operating room. The robot doesn’t look like something out of a science fiction movie nor does the robot perform the hip replacement surgery. Rather, using a CT scan of your hip, the robot’s software creates a 3D virtual model of the arthritic hip, while the robotic arm guides preparation and insertion of the new metal socket within the targeted region.

Mako surgical robot

The robot removes some of the guess work during surgery by ensuring that the pre-operative plan is accomplished. Precise implantation of the artificial ball and socket with robotic-assisted technology is critical to the longevity of the hip implant, maintaining leg lengths, and to prevent dislocation, in which the ball jumps out of the socket.

WVU Medicine is one of the first institutions in the area to be able to work with this robotic-assisted technology, and it enables us to be more precise and improve patient outcomes. These innovations to surgical techniques and hip implants have made hip replacement surgery more efficient, the implant more durable, and the recovery more manageable. If you’re experiencing pain from degenerative joint disease, and it interferes with your daily activities, you may be a candidate for hip replacement surgery.

Make an appointment: 855-WVU-CARE