Tawny Sue McClellan

Tawny Sue McClellan likes nothing better than hopping on her bicycle for a miles-long ride. She has been an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. So when knee pain and swelling forced her to stop riding, and even curtailed her daily activities, she knew it was time to search for a solution. That search led her to orthopedist Dan Farrell, MD, and an innovative new joint replacement procedure.

Dr. Farrell determined that Tawny was a good candidate for a knee replacement using the MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System. MAKO technology allows physicians to create a 3-D model of the patient’s knee and develop a personalized surgical plan based on its unique anatomy.

During the procedure, the surgeon guides the robotic arm based on the patient’s specific plan. The technology prevents the surgeon from leaving the pre-defined surgical space, resulting in unparalleled accuracy. The ground-breaking approach allows the surgeon to preserve the healthy bone and soft tissue while only removing the diseased bone. As a result of the personalized surgical plan and unmatched accuracy, the surgeon can position the implant based on the patient’s anatomy, providing a custom fit.

“This machine allows for the shaping of the bones to be extremely accurate based on the patient’s own anatomy,” says Dr. Farrell. “This then allows the surgeon to access bones with less exposure, as the instruments know where the boundaries are. It also allows the accurate balancing of the ligaments through a full range of motion.”

Tawny underwent the procedure on Jan. 29, 2018, the first patient in the area to benefit from the cutting-edge approach. Her surgery was followed by physical therapy to restore the knee’s strength and now, a year later, she is back on her bike and the trails.

“This starts an entirely new chapter in what we can offer our joint replacement patients,” says Dr. Farrell. “There’s nothing else like it, and we are able to restore mobility, function and even quality of life to patients like Tawny.”