Hackensack University Medical Center Welcomes ROSA the Knee Robot

May 13, 2019

Hackensack University Medical Center is the first site in New Jersey and the third site in the United States to utilize the Zimmer Biomet robot for total-knee replacement surgery

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is the first hospital in New Jersey and the first in the northeastern United States to perform total knee-replacement surgery utilizing the Zimmer Biomet’s Knee Robot called the Robotic Surgical Assistant or ROSA.

“We are very excited to be the first center in New Jersey to pioneer the use of this innovative technology for robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center. “The orthopedic team at Hackensack University Medical Center continues to make advancements in orthopedic care, furthering our mission to provide high-quality, patient-centered care.”

Harlan Levine, M.D. and Gregg Klein, M.D., are orthopedic surgeons at Hackensack University Medical Center and two of the developers of the ROSA Knee technology.  On April 29 and 30, Drs. Levine and Klein successfully performed New Jersey’s first cases of robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty using the Zimmer Biomet ROSA Knee robot.  Lydia Liebchen, a 60-year-old resident of Bergenfield, suffered from osteoarthritis in both knees.  A few years ago, Lydia’s right knee was replaced.  This time, Dr. Levine used the ROSA Knee Robot to replace her left knee.

“I have osteoarthritis, so it has been bone on bone for a few years. I knew I needed to have my left knee replaced.  I was running at a level 10 pain-wise every day.”

Hackensack University Medical Center is one of three centers in the country utilizing the Zimmer Biomet Knee Robot.

“Surgeons at Hackensack University Medical Center are among the first of only a dozen surgeons in the world to use ROSA Knee,” said Michael A. Kelly, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. “This technology is expected to revolutionize the treatment of patients suffering from degenerative knee diseases such as osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.”

Zimmer Biomet’s new robotic knee system has been developed to assist surgeons in optimizing their accuracy and efficiency when planning and performing total knee replacement procedures.  The technology allows a personalized surgical plan to be formulated by thoroughly reviewing each patient’s anatomy prior to surgery. Based on 2D pre-operative X-rays, a very accurate 3D virtual image of the knee is produced and loaded into the computer. At the start of surgery, the surgeon is able to assess the status of the bones and soft tissues of the knee through the robotic interface.  The surgeon then utilizes the program’s sophisticated software to formulate a precise surgical plan which, with guidance from the robotic arm, can be confidently and accurately executed during the procedure.

“We are honored to be the first center in New Jersey and the tristate area to utilize this state-of-the-art technology,” said Dr. Levine. “This is a very powerful tool which helps us to ensure that the areas where we make certain bone cuts is perfectly precise so that the implants are placed in just the right position to optimize the patient’s total knee replacement.”

“There are some very unique features to this technology, which offer a real advantage for patients in providing a more precise total knee replacement,” said Dr. Klein. “This device does not require the use of a CT scan, rather regular X-rays can be used to create a three dimensional model of the patient’s knee. The robot provides a more personalized implant placement, to produce a more natural feeling knee and may even lessen the chance of additional surgery. This may also lead to a quicker and easier recovery. “

Lydia says when she learned from Dr. Levine that her knee replacement would be performed using new state-of-the-art technology, she was thrilled.

“It’s exciting when something new comes along, and I’m proud to be a part of this,” said Lydia, who is employed as a corporate chef and is on her feet a lot.  “If it can cut recovery time and reduce pain why not? I am excited to be among the first patients in New Jersey to have undergone this innovative procedure.”

A total knee replacement is usually considered when the surfaces on both sides of the bones, as well as the underside of the patella, are significantly damaged. In total knee replacement surgery, the surface of the thighbone (femur) is replaced with a contoured metal component designed to fit the curve of a patient’s bone. The surface of the shinbone (tibia) is typically replaced with a flat metal component and a smooth plastic component that serves as cartilage. The undersurface of the kneecap may also be replaced with an implant made of plastic, or a combination of metal and plastic.