Return to normal life

Robot-assisted knee procedure is changing lives in Waco.

The physicians on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White - Hillcrest have been doing robotic assisted joint replacement over the past year. The staff and patients seem happy with the results, as well.

Steve Willis recently turned 72 years old and his knees have been showing the signs of years of hard work, climbing ladders, and carrying materials for construction projects.

“The shots were no longer working to provide some relief. It even got to the point where I fell two or three times where my knee buckled and gave out on me. Not only a danger, but it was where I was no longer able to work,” Willis said.

His doctor suggested a knee replacement, but not the conventional kind. His surgeon wanted to use a procedure with robot assistance, which allows the surgeon to use a 3-D computer tomography scan of the patient’s joint and customize the surgery to their unique anatomy. Baylor Scott & White - Hillcrest has been performing these orthopedic surgeries over the past year.

Steve had his first knee replaced in August 2021 and the second in November 2021. After several weeks of rehabilitation and physical therapy, he resumed an active lifestyle.

“I recently returned home from hiking trails and climbing over rocks at Rocky Mountain National Park. Not only could I do the things that I used to do, I was able to do things I haven’t done in years,” Steve said.

He says he feels like a new man and has no plans for slowing down. “I feel like I’ve gotten a new lease on life,” he said.

Surgeons say robotic assisted surgery is quickly becoming the preferred choice for patients and surgeons. They feel the types of surgeries they’re able to do robotically will no doubt expand in the near future.


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