MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute performs its 1,000th Mako robotic surgery 

Advancements in technology for orthopedic surgery has reduced complications and enhanced the recovery experience for patients. Kristi Wicker knows this all too well. She had knee replacement surgery 12 years ago at the MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. When pain in her other knee became unbearable, she chose to return to the MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute because of its expert physicians and use of the most advanced technologies.

In fact, Kristi was the 1,000th patient to have a joint replacement performed by Dr. Andrew Wassef who serves as the medical director of the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center. This milestone procedure performed by Dr. Wassef puts him in the top 3% for number of Mako knee replacement surgeries performed in the nation, according to Stryker, the manufacturer of Mako SmartRobotics™.

Mako SmartRobotics™ is a unique technology that provides a 3D model of a patient’s unique anatomy to assist surgeons in pre-planning and precise placement of a patient’s joint implants. For Kristi, her left leg was beginning to bow out, away from her right knee due to the pain she was experiencing. This formation was unique to Kristi, and by using this technology Dr. Wassef was able to see the formation and keep an eye on it when they went into surgery.

Being able to see how the knee is sitting before and during surgery allows for the precise placement of Kristi’s new joint. This ensured that when Kristi recovered, it matched her anatomy and rectified the bowing that was happening.

Because of the 3D image that Dr. Wassef captured before surgery, he knew exactly where to remove the damaged joint and used Mako SmartRobotics™ to help guide him. When it came time to insert the replacement, he was able to easily place it accurately forming to her unique anatomy.

Just a few hours after surgery, Kristi was up and walking the halls of the Joint Replacement Center and went home the next day – virtually pain free.

“When I had my knee replacement done 12 years ago it was amazing,” said Kristi. “I have not felt pain on my right knee since. So, when it was time for me to get my left knee done, I knew I had to come back to Long Beach Medical Center. And Dr. Wassef is the best. He and his team walked me through the process and my new knee feels spectacular! I am so happy I had it replaced.”

Long Beach Medical Center is a leader in Southern California for hip, shoulder and knee replacements.  The team uses a revolutionary philosophy that encourages patients to become active as soon as possible – often on the same day of surgery.

Compared to the national average, the MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute’s incredible outcomes come from advanced technology – like Mako SmartRobotics™, experienced surgeons – like Dr. Wassef, and a caring clinical team trained specifically in joint replacement.

“Kristi is an incredible patient, and she has been doing really well in recovery,” said Dr. Wassef. “When she and I met, she was sharing how she and her husband are planning to travel once she has her new knee. Now, that she has it, I don’t think anyone will be able to stop her from all the adventures she’s planning. I’m just happy I was able to help her.”

According to the Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company’s database, 97% of patients at MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute at Long Beach Medical Center who are discharged after having joint replacement surgery can go directly home rather than to a skilled nursing facility – the national average is 94%. In addition, patients who come out of the Joint Replacement Center walk an average of 300 feet before leaving the hospital – that’s nearly the length of one football field. Lastly, compared to the national average, patients only stay about 1.10 days in the hospital, whereas the national average is 1.54.

MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute surgeons are trained on the most advanced technologies in robotic guidance and navigation for joint replacement. They embrace innovative solutions for surgery to help patients get back to their active lifestyles. To learn more, visit memorialcare.org/lbjointreplacement.

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