Healthier Connections: Makoplasty knee and hip surgery

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HARTFORD -- A new tool is revolutionizing partial knee and hip replacements. In this Healthier Connections report, brought to you by Hartford HealthCare, FOX 61's Sarah Cody shows us a high-tech navigation system that is making the surgery more precise and effective.

Mick Marsden, 62, of East Haddam had knee problems for 16 years.

"It finally got the best of me when I couldn’t do my work any longer," he said. "Couldn’t walk land or up and down stairs to show houses as a realtor I couldn’t walk my dogs in the woods anymore."

Dr. Robert Belniak of Starling Physicians suggested Makoplasty, a high-tech method that's helping those suffering from arthritis.

"Makoplasty is a way to use a computer or a robot to do a more accurate knee replacement, particularly a partial knee replacement or hip replacement," said Dr. Belniak.

First, a cat scan is taken of the patient's knee. Then, the robot computer program makes a virtual model of the knee and places the prosthesis in a very accurate place.

There are only a few of these robots in the state. One is shared by The Hospital of Central Connecticut and Mid-State Medical Center.

After about a month, most patients can use their knees normally without pain. Marsden had the surgery in early December and is moving forward with confidence.

"I was back at work in just under 30 days and taking flying lessons in a plane a month after surgery," he said.

In the next 10 years, the need for knee replacement in America is projected to rise 300%.