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Health: New technology can help patients be up and running more quickly after joint-replacement surgery

by on July 02, 2020 12:16 PM

Joint health is crucial to having an active life. As we age, many people develop issues with their joints that prevent them from enjoying activities like hunting and hiking.

Robert Nye of Millheim wasn’t going to let knee pain get in the way of another hunting season. Nye hunted and fished through the 2019 season, but once it was over, he scheduled Mako robotic-arm-assisted knee surgery at Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital with orthopedic surgeon Christopher Damsgaard, MD.

The minimally invasive Mako system transforms the way joint-replacement surgery is performed. Mako technology allows surgeons to create each patient’s surgical plan before entering the operating room using a virtual 3D model and enables even greater accuracy during surgery. In most patients, this translates into a better and longer-performing joint, less discomfort and a quicker recovery.

“The Mako system provides extreme accuracy when placing the new joint, allowing patients to have a smaller incision, less post-operative pain, and the ability to return earlier to activities they once enjoyed,” says Geisinger orthopedic surgeon Michael Sobolewski, DO.

Mako surgeries begin with a CT scan of a person’s joint, which is used to generate a 3D virtual model of their unique anatomy.

"The virtual model is loaded into the Mako system’s computer, where I then use it to create a personalized plan for the upcoming procedure,” Sobolewski explains. “During surgery, I guide the robotic arm which allows me to be more precise during the procedure compared to traditional surgeries.”

Mako’s precision means faster recovery times for patients like Nye, who was able to leave the hospital the day of his procedure.

“Robert’s surgery was at 8 a.m., and by 2:30 that afternoon, he was walking and doing stairs with his physical therapist,” Sobolewski says. “By 4:30, he was free to go home.”

At the time, Mako joint replacement surgeries were not available any closer to Nye’s home. But as of June, these procedures are being offered at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital with two surgeons certified to perform them –Sobolewski and Suresh Patil, MD.

Once he was home, Nye took charge of his own rehabilitation using Force Therapeutics, a digital platform that gave him exercises to complete and let him keep in touch with his care team.

“I was supposed to do my exercises twice a day,” he says with a laugh. “But I didn’t want to baby my knee, so I pushed myself to three or four times. That was a mistake, so I cut it back. Force Therapeutics worked great when I followed the recommendations.”

Nye is already looking forward to hunting season. He’s also thinking about eventually having his right knee done. Luckily for him, when he’s ready for the surgery, he won’t have to drive from Millheim to Coal Township to find it.

“I’d definitely recommend this surgery to anyone who’s been considering it,” Nye says. “I can do what I want now without worrying about knee pain. What a relief!”


The best way to care for your joints is to keep them and your muscles, ligaments, and bones strong and stable. For more information about Mako, call (717) 297-6393 or visit


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