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New robotic technology provides alternative to total knee replacement

Elmhurst resident Susan Gross is happy to no longer be in pain after undergoing minimally invasive robotic partial knee resurfacing at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Attached is a photo of Susan, right, and her twin sister, Sharon Peters, celebrating their 58th birthday together. To learn more about partial knee replacement options, call 630-856-7525 or visit

Hinsdale – When Adventist Hinsdale Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Durkin presented a lecture at the Community House in Hinsdale about the benefits of minimally invasive robotic partial knee resurfacing, one of his patients was present to showcase the benefits. Just five days earlier, Durkin had performed the procedure on Susan Gross, 58, of Elmhurst. Gross felt so well she walked across the stage without a walker or cane.


For years, Gross endured periodic cortisone injections for knee pain, until she had no bone left and no place for another injection. That was bad new for Gross, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and stabbing knee pains when she moved.


“I could no longer keep up with my little granddaughter, Brooke,” Gross said. “She would always say, ‘Come on, Me-ma, you’re going too slow.’”


Her rheumatologist recommended knee replacement surgery and suggested Gross see an orthopedic surgeon. However, after taking X-rays, Durkin thought Gross could be a candidate for a partial knee replacement using minimally invasive robotic technology because the damage was confined only to the inner part of the right knee.


Gross had home health physical therapy at home for two weeks and then she returned to her part-time job as an office manager for Leonard’s Fine Men’s Clothing in downtown Elmhurst. She is amazed at her lack of post-surgery infection, small incision, short rehabilitation period, ability to drive and resumption of daily activities.


She recommends minimally invasive robotic partial knee resurfacing to anyone who is a candidate for one. “I’m glad I did it now instead of winding up with a total knee replacement,” Gross said. “I’m relieved that I don’t need steroid injections anymore. I’m glad that Dr. Durkin felt this was the procedure for me. It was the perfect way to go and I’m happy to no longer be in pain.”


Adventist Hinsdale Hospital is the only hospital in Chicago’s western suburbs to offer this revolutionary technology, which uses a CT scan of the knee to create a digital replica of the patient’s actual anatomy. A robotic arm gives the surgeon extraordinary precision in placing new implants. The personalized surgery plan requires very small incisions to remove only the diseased portion of the knee. This results in less blood loss during surgery, preservation of healthy bone and soft tissue and a quicker recovery. The renewed joint feels and moves more like a natural, healthy knee.


“Minimally invasive robotic technology allows knee pain sufferers to get back to normal active daily life faster than ever,” said David L. Crane, president and chief executive officer of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. “Many who undergo the surgery are back to their regular physical activity in less than two months. It’s truly remarkable.”


Knee pain often begins in the inner knee and can be caused by bone rubbing on bone due to loss of cartilage, an abnormal bone formation or joint deformity. When pain from arthritis is localized in one area of the knee, the knee could be treated with this minimally invasive robotic technology.


Common knee pain symptoms that could indicate that someone is a potential patient for robotic partial knee replacement include:

Pain while standing or walking short distances, climbing up or down stairs, or getting in and out of chairs,

Start-up pain or stiffness when activities are initiated from a sitting position,

Joint stiffness after getting out of bed,

Swelling in one or more areas of the knee,

A grating sensation or crunching feeling in the knee.

“People living with knee pain often put off surgery until their problem effects the entire joint, requiring a full knee replacement and a long recovery time,” said Dr. Paul Trksak, an orthopedic surgeon who is trained to use the robotic device. “It’s our hope that those suffering will visit the Orthopedic Program to see if they are a candidate for a robotic partial knee replacement. Having this procedure may well relieve them from the years of chronic pain and get them back to enjoying their life.”


Because the knee is an active joint, anyone could be a candidate for a partial knee replacement – from the young to those well into their 80s. But most technology candidates are 50 to 70 years old.


The surgical robotic arm literally will not allow the surgeon to operate outside of the digitally created surgical plan so that only the diseased portion of the knee is removed. The procedure may is typically completed in less than two hours, usually requires only one night’s hospital stay, and the course of physical therapy may be as short as six weeks.


People suffering from knee pain should exhaust all non-surgical options first – such as losing weight or treating the pain with anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections – before considering knee surgery. If moderate to severe pain persists or is present in more than one area of the knee, a total knee replacement might be needed.  


The specially trained staff in the Orthopedic Program at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital cares for patients from the initial consultation through the recovery process – including rehabilitation and home care – to ensure that patients return to full strength as quickly as possible.


Following robotic partial knee replacement many physical activities, such as golf, biking, swimming and doubles tennis, can be completed without pain or risk of further injury.


Attend a free seminar to learn more about partial knee replacement options. Call 630-856-7525 or visit



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,;