San Francisco surgeon does robot-assisted knee replacement on outpatient

San Francisco surgeon does robot-assisted knee replacement on outpatient.

Orthopaedic surgeon Kevin R. Stone, M.D., has performed the first outpatient, robot-assisted knee replacement surgery in San Francisco. The surgery to replace the patient’s patellofemoral joint took place at the San Francisco Surgery Center, an outpatient surgery center near Union Square. While robotic-joint surgery has been growing nationally, the development of techniques to enable joint replacement to be performed as an outpatient procedure has the potential to revolutionize orthopaedics and the economics of healthcare. The Makoplasty joint replacement procedure allowed the patient to walk out of the surgery center 1-1/2 hours after surgery and to begin physical therapy the next day.

Robots have dramatically improved the accuracy of joint replacement procedures by merging CT computerized measurement data with surgical cutting burrs. In the past, surgeons used cutting guides, which at times could not be accurately adjusted in multiple planes on the operating table. Using the CT images, a computer monitor, and a robotic arm, the surgeon can make adjustments on the screen before making an incision. Therefore, the surgical incisions can be much smaller, eliminating much of the pain from traditional open exposure surgery. The robotic accuracy addresses the criticisms that the small incisions made during minimally-invasive surgery (MIS) compromise the surgeon’s view.

The case performed this week focused on a particularly difficult joint replacement of the patellofemoral joint of the kneecap and opposing femur. Due to the complex shapes of these bones, traditional replacement surgery of this area has not been as effective as typically seen in usual knee joint replacements. During the procedure, the diseased portion of the knee is resurfaced, sparing the patient’s healthy bone and surrounding tissue. An implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again. The new robotic technique, called Makoplasty, holds promise for superior outcomes given the new level of accuracy.

The best quote of the day at surgery occurred when Dr Stone asked the patient if he wanted to meet his co-surgeon, Dr. Velyvis, who is a pioneer in Makoplasty procedures. The patient replied, “No, I just want to meet the robot!”

The Stone Clinic is an orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine clinic in San Francisco, California, specializing in biologic approaches to joint replacement, and now featuring robot-assisted joint replacement for surgical candidates with advanced arthritis.

If you are interested in more information about robot-assisted knee surgery, biologic joint replacement techniques, or would like to schedule an interview with Kevin R. Stone, M.D., please call Luis Galvez at 415-563-3110 or email or visit

Picture credit: Logo supplied.

Authored by: Sean McInnes

Sean excelled in English through high school, so it was only natural he should edit the school newspaper in his final year. He would write up sports results for his local newspaper. Now he writes news stories for