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Skater undergoes high tech knee surgery

August 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local figure skating professional took a spin in a new type of arena. She's the first in Southern California to undergo what could be the future of joint replacement surgery. After being told she'd have to "hang up her skates" -- Sandy Lansdell will soon be back on the ice. Worn out knee cartilage sidelined the former Ice Capades skater for more than a year.

"It bothered me going up and down the stairs and it bothered me walking," said Lansdell.

The damage was on the inside of Lansdell's jumping knee. The last thing she wanted was to replace her whole knee.

So when Sandy heard she just needed a partial replacement, she thought that would be a better option.

"Wow, I thought that it would be only half as bad," said Lansdell.

And the news got better. At Good Samaritan Hospital, Sandy became the first person in Southern California to get a partial knee replacement with the MAKO surgical robot.

"What the robot does is it allow us to put those parts in a very precise and accurate manner, every single time for every single patient," said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Dorr.

The success of any joint replacement depends on how well doctors get it to fit. No matter how skilled a surgeon is, experts say there's always a margin for human error. Being just a millimeter off means the difference between pain and relief.

"They've been pretty much a free hand operation. The surgeons are eye-balling where to put the part to put them in," said Dr. Dorr.

With the Mako, surgeons see a virtual view inside the joint.

The MAKO surgical robot is so precise that only the diseased portion of the bone is removed, leaving the healthy bone and tissue untouched.

"The success rate of implanting the parts in a perfect position for the patient should be a 100 percent for this," said said Dr. Dorr.

A perfect fit means patients like Sandy can get back ton their feet as soon as possible.

"I had the surgery and right after surgery they had me up and walking. I went home the same day," said Lansdell.

Lansdell hopes to get back in the rink as soon as possible. The robotic device is FDA approved only for the knee.

The procedure is covered by most health plans including Medicare. Good Samaritan Hospital is scheduled to do its second procedure next week.

 

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