St. Francis-Emory surgeon performs robotic knee replacement surgery


COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Orthopedic surgeon Dr. George Zimmerman has performed St. Francis-Emory Healthcare’s first total knee replacement using robotic technology.

Though the procedure was announced on Monday, it took place on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

“We are proud to be the first hospital in our region to provide access to this technology,” said Melody Trimble, chief executive officer at St. Francis. “We know that robotic technology enables our surgeons to have a more predictable surgical experience with increased precision and accuracy and provides patients with options that are less invasive and provide faster recovery times. This addition to our orthopedic service line further demonstrates our commitment to making communities healthier.”

The new surgical option comes with 3D CT-based software. Here’s how it works: the surgeon builds a virtual model of the individual patient’s knee by using the CT scans. Once the surgeon has built the model, he or she then uses the robotic arm to perform the replacement surgery. 

Dr. Zimmerman says the robot-assisted surgical option is a benefit for the patient.

“With this new technology, we know more about our patients than ever before through a personalized joint replacement surgical plan, and we’re able to make fewer – and smaller – incisions. For some patients, this can mean less soft-tissue damage; for others, greater bone preservation. It is an exciting time to be able to offer this transformative technology for our patients. St. Francis is raising the bar in robotic services in the region,” said Dr. George Zimmerman.

Another benefit of the robot-assisted total knee replacement option is more accurate positioning of the implant which could give the patient more of a natural feeling at the joint.

The robot has yet to be named. St. Francis will host a community-wide “Name the New Robot” contest at a date to be determined.

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