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Hip or knee surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is a procedure that can help patients who manage severe joint pain and osteoarthritis. In many cases the surgery is life-changing, enabling patients to walk again, restore mobility and return to the activities and active lifestyle they used to enjoy.

Robotic technology equips the surgeon with a 3D model created from a CT scan of the hip or knee having the procedure. The 3D model serves as a map for the surgeon to establish a surgical plan and he or she controls a robotic arm to perform the procedure, positioning the joint replacement in the precise location for alignment of the body.

Dr. Ralph Carter, III, MD FAAOS, board certified orthopedic surgeon with OrthoCarolina Scotland, answered several questions about this new technology:

What exactly is robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery?

Dr. Carter: Robotic-assisted knee and hip replacement surgery is an advancement in technique for surgical treatment for patients suffering from degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. The robotic arm allows the surgeon to precisely execute a customized plan during the actual surgery, allowing bone preparation and implant placement within fractions of a degree and millimeter.

What are the benefits to robotic-assisted surgery over traditional surgery?

Dr. Carter: There are many reasons for patients to choose robotic-assisted surgery over conventional knee and hip replacement surgery. Because it offers precision like no other technique, patients can expect:

- More rapid recovery

- More complete return of function

- Improved range of motion

- A more natural feeling joint

- Fewer complications, such as instability, stiffness, dislocation, and leg length inequality

How does the procedure work?

Dr. Carter: Using three dimensional images of the diseased joint, we are able to plan and “virtually perform” the replacement surgery on a computer screen before any incision is made. The joint is then mapped in the OR, matched to the plan, and then executed with the robotic arm in the surgeon’s hands. The robot doesn’t perform the surgery; it is simply the state-of-the-art tool we use.

Do the Laurinburg/Scotland surgeons have a lot of experience using robotic technology?

Dr. Carter: Thanks to the support of our community hospital in always providing us the best tools available, Scotland’s board-certified orthopedic surgeons have performed more robotic hip replacements than any other team within 100 miles of Laurinburg, and more than all but a few locations in the Carolinas. We have more than 80 years of combined experience including more than 40 years in computer-assisted navigation for knee replacement surgery, which has helped make this transition to this next step in computer-assisted surgery a smooth one.

Q&A originally appeared on OrthoCarolina and Scotland Health Care System are the only medical organizations within 100 miles of Laurinburg - and one of only three groups in North Carolina - to offer the most advanced robotic technology for total hip and knee replacements. OrthoCarolina partners with Scotland Health Care System in the Laurinburg/Scotland region. For more information visit


October 09, 2019

I would like to know more about this robotic knee surgery cause I need two and I am very hesitate about having it done. How expensive is it? How long is the hospital stay and recovery time. Thank you
- Jean
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 09, 2019

Hi Jean, please contact the Spine Center at 704.323.2225, so they can get you some additional information.

January 04, 2019

Dr. Carter performed a robot assisted TKR in December 2016 on my right knee. The recovery was quick and far less painful than I anticipated. I was able to taper my pain meds quickly and use ice as my main help. I have enjoyed a "forgotten knee" mentality ever since and am able to do whatever I want to do (other than run, which I never did anyway) for as long as I want to do it now. My mobility is great and I reached a flexion that even surprised my physical therapist. I couldn't recommend Dr. Carter and his team any more highly! Thank you all for this new, no pain chapter in life!
- Karen Greene
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

January 05, 2019

Thank you Karen.

December 07, 2017

Dr. Carter replaced my hip two years ago using this technology. I feel great and frankly do not have any limitations other than to not run. I have walked 10 to 15 miles a day recently for numerous days with no pain or any difficulty. I was very pleased with this surgery.
- Bob Weagraff