Conventional vs. Robotic-Arm Assisted Knee Arthroplasty


Robotic-assisted surgery is starting to become more widely sought after by patients and many joint replacement surgeons are quickly becoming trained in this innovative method of joint replacement surgery as a result. Many of the robotics-assisted surgeries being performed show outcomes that fare better than many of the open, traditional surgeries. Local hospitals in northern Arizona have already invested high dollars in the innovative, cutting-edge technology to use in their operating rooms, as well.

What is Robotic Surgery?

When robotics are used in surgery, it’s typically considered a more minimally invasive surgery, meaning surgeons use smaller surgical instruments, usually resulting in benefits to the patient that include faster healing, expedited recovery and less tissue damage than traditional surgery. In my practice, I utilize robotics in both total knee replacement and partial knee replacement surgeries. My patients tend to return to their chosen activities and quality of life faster after a robotic-assisted minimally invasive joint replacement surgery.

A surgery is considered “robotic-assisted” when there are navigation instruments, cameras or hand-held computerized technologies that are being controlled by the surgeon. But, it is never performed automatically or without the control of the surgeon. Often in the joint replacement surgeries I perform, the robotics provide enhanced viewing of the problem area. Advanced computer and robotic technology help the surgeon create a 3D map of the problem area, such as a knee so that healthy bone and tissue are preserved, and the new knee implant is perfectly aligned and sized. This is all relayed through a robotics-assisted handpiece used during the joint replacement procedure.
Working through a small incision, the surgeon guides the handpiece to prepare the area, resurfacing the bone, based on the 3D map that was created. The robot then assists in the precise position of the implant so that it fits perfectly with the prepared bone. While this advanced technology is designed to ensure consistent and accurate results, the surgeon’s skilled hands are always in complete control of the procedure.

When I am performing a joint replacement procedure, I find there is a great advantage to having the placement, balance, fit and function of the joint implant be robotic assisted rather than relying solely on digital imaging, such as X-ray or a CT scan, to visually guide me to insert the implant.
There are different types of robotic systems, but the particular type of robotics system I use for knee replacement surgery is the NAVIO Surgical System™. Data has shown that patients typically have a quicker recovery period, are able to return to work and participate in low-impact activities sooner than if they had a traditional knee replacement surgery.

Dr. Bourck Cashmore is an orthopedic surgeon at Northern Arizona Orthopaedics in Flagstaff and Prescott Valley, specializing in joint replacement surgeries. He is one of few trained and skilled in surgeries utilizing robotics and the NAVIO Surgical System. To make an appointment with Dr. Cashmore, visit or call 928.226.2900.