Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s new robotic arm aids orthopedic surgeons

By James Chilton

CHEYENNE – A new piece of technology at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is designed to improve outcomes for patients who get hip and knee surgery.

For the last month, surgeons have been using a device called RIO, short for “Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System,” to assist them in performing hip and partial knee replacements.

The device, which cost the hospital just shy of $1 million, allows surgeons to achieve an unprecedented level of precision when it comes to preparing a patient to receive an artificial joint.

Specifically, the arm aids in a portion of the surgery known as “burring” for partial knee replacements or “reaming” for hip replacements. Both procedures involve milling away portions of bone or cartilage to make way for the artificial replacement parts, but they require precision in order to ensure those parts fit properly for the rest of the patient’s life.

“Even the best surgeons, if you take an X-ray afterward – there are a certain number of patients who’ll be outliers – the replacements aren’t in the ideal location,” said Dr. Bret Winter, one of the orthopedic surgeons who has used the RIO arm. “The reason you use this is to reduce the chance of having a complication, and the biggest complications are dislocation and limb length differences for hip replacements.”

Dr. Jean Basta, another orthopedic surgeon, said before surgery even begins, surgeons first take detailed 3D scans of the patient’s knee or hip.


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