Mako Technology for Joint Replacement Surgery

At Baptist Health System, we know how difficult it is to move and live the life you want to live when you’re suffering from pain and discomfort. That’s why we are committed to helping our patients in San Antonio and nearby cities treat and manage joint pain, and see you get back on your feet as soon as possible. We offer innovative solutions and minimally invasive procedures for joint pain, including the use of Mako SmartRobotics™.


Find an Orthopedic Surgeon

What Is Joint Replacement Surgery?

Replacing a joint can reduce pain and help you move and feel better. Joint replacement surgery is a procedure that allows surgeons to remove damaged or diseased parts of a joint and replace them with new, man-made parts or prosthetics. Artificial knee and hip implants are made up of metal and medical-grade plastic called polyethylene or ceramic parts. The surgeon may not remove the whole joint and may choose to replace or fix only the damaged parts.

The hips and knees are replaced most often, but other joints such as the shoulders, fingers, ankles and elbows can be replaced as well. 

Injuries and Conditions that May Need Joint Replacement

We don’t want you to suffer from pain any longer. So whether your condition requires a hip or knee replacement, our minimally invasive treatment options, including the use of Mako SmartRobotics™, may help improve your quality of life with more accurate surgeries, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.

Some of the injuries and conditions that may need a joint replacement include:

  • Osteoarthritis - the most common form of arthritis that is often related to aging and most frequently occurs in the hands, hips and knees.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of functions in the joints. It can also affect the eyes, mouth and lungs.
  • Osteonecrosis – is a bone disease that results from the loss of blood supply to the bone. This can cause bone tissues to die and the joints that surround the bone to collapse.
  • Bone tumors – the abnormal growth of cells within the bone.
  • Non-inflammatory or inflammatory degenerative joint disease

Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before, During and After Surgery

  • What is the process for being admitted to the hospital?
  • What type of anesthesia will I receive?
  • What type of implant or prosthetics will be used?
  • How long will I stay in the hospital?
  • How long will my recovery take?
  • How will my pain be managed after surgery?

Plan ahead to ensure a smooth surgery and speedy recovery. Here are some of the preparations you can make:

  • Lose weight. Excess weight may cause additional stress on your joints. If you’re overweight, eat a nutritious and well-balanced meal. You may also ask your doctor how to lose weight safely.
  • Strengthen your upper body. This may help you use crutches or a walker after surgery. Ask your doctor what type of exercises will work best for you.
  • Avoid smoking. Try to trim down or quit the habit altogether. Smoking slows down recovery and increases the risk of infection.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Do not consume alcohol at least 48 hours before surgery.
  • Consider modifying your house, particularly in your room and bathroom, to make your life after surgery more comfortable. Install assistive items, such as a shower bench, handrails or a long-handled reacher.
  • Double check the flooring. Fasten electrical cords and remove any throw or area rugs that may cause you to trip and fall.

What Is Mako SmartRobotics™?

Mako SmartRobotics™ is a modern technology designed to help provide solutions for joint pain. It uses a 3D computed tomography (CT)-based planning software that helps our orthopedic doctors understand the anatomy of our patients and design personalized joint replacement surgical plans.

How Does Mako SmartRobotics™ Help Doctors with Joint Replacement?

Mako SmartRobotics™ does not perform the surgery, but it has a robotic arm that orthopedic doctors use to guide and perform the surgery. It helps surgeons fit implants on the parts of the knee or hip that need to be replaced. During the operation, the surgeon follows the surgical plan and uses the Mako’s robotic arm within the predefined area. This solution comes with the Mako’s AccuStop™ technology which cuts accurately and stays within the planned boundaries of the surgery to protect bones that are healthy.

During the actual surgery, Mako SmartRobotics™ also allows your surgeon to make adjustments to the surgical plan as needed.

What Can I Expect After A Joint Replacement Surgery?

After the procedure, you may have to stay in the hospital for a few days, especially if you are elderly or have comorbidities. Your doctor will determine when it is safe for you to go home. It is normal to feel pain or initial discomfort in the replaced joint. This is because your body is healing, and your muscles are still weak from inactivity. You may be prescribed medication to help with the pain. Your doctor may advise you to use your new joint shortly after the operation as well.

General pain may last up to several weeks while swelling may last for two to three weeks after surgery. It may persist for as long as three to six months. Bruising usually occurs for one to two weeks following a surgery.

How Long Will the Artificial Joint Last?

Joint replacements may still function 25 years later. However, its performance and lifespan may be affected by wear and tear caused by a lifetime of movement. Younger patients may need to have their artificial hips and knees revised at some point during their lifetime.

It is important to note that the effects of a joint replacement differ from one person to another.

Know Your Joint Replacement Options

Before deciding the best joint replacement option for your condition, your orthopedic doctor may advise you to undergo specific tests, such as a CT scan, pain mapping, provocative arthrography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or others. Talk to an orthopedic specialist today to determine your options.

Request an Orthopedic Specialist Referral Now

Awards and Recognitions

Baptist Health System has received several awards and recognitions for its joint replacement procedures. Some of these recognitions are:

  • US News and World Report: High Performing Hospitals for Knee Replacement
  • BCBS of Texas Blue Distinction Centers for Knee
  • The Joint Commission Disease Specific Certification for Joint Replacement – Knees
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)

Find an Orthopedic Specialist

If you’re suffering from joint pain or discomfort due to an undiagnosed condition or an injury, please do not delay care. Speak with one of our orthopedic specialists for a proper diagnosis and guidance on the best treatment options for your condition.

Know Your Joint Replacement Options

Before knowing the best joint replacement option for your condition, your orthopedic doctor may advise you to undergo specific tests, such as a CT scan, pain mapping, provocative arthrography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and more. Talk to an orthopedic specialist today to determine your options and get back the life you deserve sooner than later.

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