Mako Knee Replacement: Recovery Time & How Long It Lasts

Table of Contents

About 790,000 Americans have total knee replacements (TKR) each year. Do you struggle with knee pain or instability that impacts your daily activities? Has your doctor recommended that you get a TKR?

Today, new advances in technology are making the recovery process easier. The Mako robotic knee replacement surgery is quicker and can help your TKR last longer. Keep reading to learn more about the Mako technology.

Traditional Knee Replacement vs. Using Mako Technology

For decades, surgeons have manually performed TKRs. This involves cutting the end of your thigh bone (femur) at an angle of six degrees. Then they make a 90-degree cut across the shin bone (tibia).

Surgeons rely on their expertise to identify anatomic landmarks and position the implant. In patients with severe bone loss, finding the landmarks can present a challenge.

They must recreate the correct joint line and offset to achieve proper balance with the ligaments. Accurate performance at every step impacts the patient’s outcome.

Mako Robotic Knee Replacement

Some surgeons are now using relatively new technology to increase their precision. The Mako robotic system creates a 3D model of your knee. The doctor uses this information to create a surgical plan for your unique anatomy.

During the surgery, a robotic arm, guided by the surgeon, is used to perform the procedure. The system also provides enhanced visualization for the surgeon to see the anatomy.

The increased visualization and enhanced guidance control optimize the surgeon’s precision. During the operation, the surgeon uses data from your surgical plan to perform the TKR.

They use the robotic arm to remove all diseased cartilage and bone in the defined area. Then they make the specific planned cuts to prepare the bone for the implant.

Today, some types of implants don’t use cement. They’re designed to work with the body to create a natural circular motion as you move.

It’s important to understand that the robot isn’t performing the surgery. The surgeon uses this robotic arm as a tool to enhance the precision of the procedure.

Risks Associated with Mako Procedures

The complication rates with the Mako system seem to be low. Since this has only been in use for the last ten years, there are a limited number of studies.

One 2019 study reported zero complications or the need to stop and perform a traditional TKR. Two other studies reported the same outcomes.

As with all surgical procedures, there’s a risk of infection. Yet, there’s been no reports of heightened infections following the Mako procedure.

Are You a Good Candidate for Mako Joint Replacement?

The most prevalent candidates for TKR are individuals with persistent knee problems. Examples include rheumatoid, degenerative, post-traumatic and osteoarthritis. If you have a moderate knee deformity, your physician may recommend a TKR.

Determining if you’re a good candidate for Mako TKR depends on several factors. These include the following:

  • Amount of knee deformity
  • Previous surgeries on that knee
  • General health conditions that impact healing

Mako benefits individuals with late-stage osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions. Your surgeon often recommends this procedure if all three knee compartments have damage.

The medial compartment is located inside the knee and the lateral is outside of the knee. The patella compartment describes the top of the knee where your kneecap is.

What’s the Patient Experience Like?

A traditional TKR requires an eight- to ten-inch-long incision. This creates significant soft tissue disruption and blood loss. These factors lead to more post-operative pain and recovery times of about eight to ten weeks.

The Mako system only needs an incision around four to six inches in length. This reduces soft tissue disruption, blood loss, and bone damage. Many patients go home the same day they have surgery and may use a walker for balance.

It’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions to ensure an optimal recovery. Attend and fully participate in physical therapy sessions as prescribed.

Studies have shown that Mako robotic TKR patients used less pain medication. They also needed fewer physical therapy sessions. The smaller incision creates less scarring.

Mako Knee Replacement Recovery Time

Reduced pain means you’ll be up and moving around two weeks after surgery, making the Mako Knee Replacement recovery time fairly short. The MAKOplasty technology optimizes the new joint’s alignment and positions. This gives you the best comfort and range of motion to ensure it lasts a long time.

Remember each person is unique and the recovery times will vary. Personal factors affect this timeline. Examples include your general health and the need for physical therapy.

How Long Do Total Knee Replacements Last?

Traditional TKR studies have reported that 97.8 percent last for up to 20 years. The Mako knee replacement technique was first performed in the U.S. in 2017.

The longevity of joint replacements depends on a patient’s activity level and weight. Increased precision with the Mako procedures increases the implant’s life expectancy.

Experts currently estimate that Mako TKRs last about ten to sixteen years. This timeframe will likely change with prolonged use.

Are You Looking for an Orthopedic Surgeon in Arizona?

Mako robotic knee replacement offers greater precision with less pain and faster recovery. Dr. Shane Martin offers Mako total knee and hip replacements in Scottsdale, AZ.

Dr. Martin completed a fellowship in adult joint replacement and reconstructive surgery. He’s also a board-certified orthopedic surgeon.

The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale team has expertise in using MAKOplasty technology. This involves operating the surgical visualization system along with the robotic arm. We’re ready to discuss this procedure and answer your questions.

Schedule a consultation today to find your best treatment option.