A Steady Hand Revolutionizes Knee/Hip Surgery (It’s A One-Armed Robot)

Print icon
Hartford Hospital Dr. Christopher Lena with the robotic arm used in the MAKOplasty procedure.

Dr. Christopher Lena is among Hartford Hospital’s surgeons trained in the robotics-assisted Mako procedure.

What has one arm, 3D high-definition visualization, a reputation as a good listener and is obsessively precise in everything it does?

It’s the surgical robot known as Mako, which could become a new mechanical friend for anyone needing a partial knee replacement or total hip replacement. Surgeons use Mako’s robotic arm to increase accuracy, minimize incision size and speed recovery time.

“I think it has revolutionized the process,” says Dr. Robert Belniak, the senior attending surgeon at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Here are a few differences between Mako and traditional knee surgery:

  • Average Hospital Stay: 1-3 days (traditional: 3-7 days).
  • Average Incision Length: 4-6 inches (traditional: 8-10 inches).
  • Possible swelling: Several weeks (traditional: 3-6 months).
  • Return to driving a car: Within 2 weeks (traditional: 6-8 weeks).

The robotic arm’s precision makes the difference with Mako. After a CT scan of a patient’s knee or hip, Mako makes a virtual model of the prosthesis, then the surgeon guides the placement of the patient-specific prosthesis.

“Being a techie and an early adopter of technology in general, I thought it was very cool,” says Mick Marsden of East Haddam, who chose Mako after enduring knee problems for 16 years. “I was back at work (as a realtor) in just under 30 days and taking flying lessons in a plane a month after surgery.”

Are you a candidate for Mako?

Knee resurfacing: A patient should have early- to mid-stage osteoarthritis in one or two of the knee’s three compartments.

Total hip replacement: Your physician will check for symptoms such as pain or stiffness while walking, limping, pain that radiates to the groin or other areas and a history of failed non-surgical treatments.
For more information on Mako at Hartford HealthCare, click here and also watch this video:

A patient’s story:



What's New

Three young couples on the beach.

Summer Countdown: 9 Health Benefits of Sunshine

Usually, at this time of year, we like to warn people about the dangers of too much sunshine or too little protection from sunshine. Not today, with the state reopening after so many weeks of self-quarantine during COVID-19. In so many ways, glorious sunshine is good for your health. Here...

Things to Know, What to Do When a Loved One Dies

By Marc Levesque, senior resource case manager; Jessica Dakin, geriatric care program manager; and Michelle Wyman, certified dementia specialist, all with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging The death of a loved one is difficult and overwhelming. Experts at the Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging have created a guide...

Jefferson House

Senior Services Celebrates National Skilled Nursing Care Week

In celebration of National Skilled Nursing Care Week being observed May 10-16, Hartford HealthCare Senior Services is recognizing its long-term skilled nursing communities: Jefferson House, 1 John H. Stewart Drive, Newington, and Southington Care Center, 45 Meriden Ave., Southington; and managed community Jerome Home, 975 Corbin Ave., New Britain. These...


Here’s Your Exercise Plan During COVID-19 Pandemic

Now that your gym is closed and you’re staying home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it doesn’t mean you need to skip exercising. “The best example of aerobic exercise is sustained walking,” said Dr. Darren Tishler, director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Hartford HealthCare. “Biking (both stationary and...

Jeffrey A. Flaks

A Message From Hartford HealthCare CEO Jeffrey Flaks

With the concerns about coronavirus and COVID-19, I want to assure you that Hartford HealthCare is doing everything possible to protect the safety and well-being of the people and the communities we serve, and our team of healthcare providers. Our goal is to be ready and prepared for whatever is...