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Robot joins surgeons in Clarion

ROSA helps with knee replacements

-Submitted photo
The Robotic Surgical Assistant, also known as ROSA, stands at the ready at Iowa Specialty Hospital in Clarion. Surgeons with Orthopedic Specialists use the machine to help them with total knee replacement procedures. The robot is a tool used by the surgeons; it doesn’t actually perform surgeries itself.

CLARION — Orthopedic surgeons at Iowa Specialty Hospital in Clarion now have a robotic assistant to help them do knee replacement surgeries.

The device is known as a Robotic Surgical Assistant and is called ROSA for short.

Orthopedic Specialists, a team of orthopedic surgeons that treats patients in Fort Dodge, Clarion and other communities received the ROSA on May 1. Since then, 10 knee replacement surgeries have been completed with the assistance of the device.

“My partners and myself, we love it because it has been proven to be extremely accurate,” said Dr. Emile Li, an orthopedic surgeon. “All of us have been extremely impressed with the stability of the new knee the patient gets.”

Li and his fellow surgeons stress that ROSA is not some kind of android that performs operations on people. They describe it as a tool that enables the surgeon doing the operation to make very precise measurements and cuts.

“It does not resemble R2D2 or C3PO,” said Dr. Mark Palit. “It is merely a mechanical device that allows placement of the instruments which guide us in cutting the bone more accurately.”

“The surgeon is still doing the operation,” Li said. “I tell my patients that the robot has an arm that positions the jig and I hold the saw and control it.”

Before any cutting is done, the surgeons use the computer on the ROSA to plan the operation. Once the operation begins, the arm on the robot is extended and used to hold the jig while the surgeon uses the saw and other instruments.

The robot is about 3 feet tall and has wheels so that it can be moved around.

Li said the surgeons at Orthopedic Specialists had not used robots before. He said they are a recent addition to orthopedics. Using robots to assist with hip and shoulder replacements will be the next step, he said.

Patients who have received new knees with the help of the robot are very satisfied with the outcomes, according to Palit.

”Most patients are quite eager to jump on the latest in medical technology advances,” he said.

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