Teacher Returns to Active, Pain-Free Living After Robotic-Arm Assisted Knee Replacement

Maria Ramos, a Miami-Dade County public school teacher, had been suffering with arthritis pain in her right knee for quite some time — to the point where she realized she had to do something about it to enjoy the rest of her life.

That’s when she said she found Juan Carlos Suarez, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, who would tell her about the many benefits of robotic-arm assisted surgery for knee replacements.

“I went to hear him explain the process,” recalls Ms. Ramos. “And I thought: ‘… I’m going to do it.’ And it was the best thing that has ever happened in my life.”

(Watch now: Hear from patient Maria Ramos and Juan Carlos Suarez, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute. Video by Steve Pipho.)

Last year, Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute became the first institution in Miami-Dade County to invest in the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology, manufactured by Stryker. Mako helps surgeons perform partial and total knee replacements more accurately. For patients, that means preserving soft tissue, saving healthy bone, and realizing faster recoveries.

“(Ms. Ramos) had gone through a lot of conservative treatment options, such as injections, physical therapy,” said Dr. Suarez. “She was taking anti-inflammatories over the counter for several years. And despite all those things, she was still having incapacitating knee pain.”

Dr. Suarez explains that for Ms. Ramos and other patients, robotic-arm assisted knee surgery has many advantages, including allowing for more precision.

“And by providing that precision you can personalize the surgery a lot easier and more accurately,” he explains. “It’s a great tool to do the surgery because it provides that other level of precision that we don’t have with our typical instruments, or with our naked eye. When you can do it robotically, you’re adding another level of perfection to the surgery.”

Ms. Ramos is a big proponent of this advanced knee replacement surgery. She says her only regret is not seeking out Dr. Suarez and his team sooner.

“I want to tell anybody who’s thinking about it to stop thinking — go ahead and do it,” she says. “You are not going to regret it.”

Ms. Ramos says she is fully enjoying life again because she can resume the many physically challenging activities she was forced to stop because of her knee pain.

“My life is complete,” she says. “I can walk; I can run; I can swim; I can ice skate; I can bicycle — just about everything. And the best thing is no pain. I have no pain.”

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