Morristown’s First Robotic-Assisted Knee Surgery

Consistent Excellence – Robotic-Assisted Technology is Now at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System

Christal Hamm knew her surgeon was using a new program for her knee replacement at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System (MHHS). She didn’t find out till later that the new program was robotic-assisted surgery, a tool that once was only available in larger cities.

Christal Hamm

In fact, she was the first MHHS patient to undergo robotic knee surgery in Morristown, and she’s now looking forward to a life that’s more comfortable, more mobile and more fun.

“Just being able to walk around Dollywood with my son,” Hamm says, “just being able to do everyday life and not have excruciating pain.”

That pain impacted her quality of life from simple, everyday tasks to singing in church on Sundays. As part of the praise team, Hamm was on her feet for long periods of time, and it came at a cost.

“I could barely get off the stage because it hurt so bad,” Hamm says. “Before the surgery, the pain was constant. It definitely doesn’t feel anything like that anymore.”

Hamm, who lives in Mooresburg, TN, says two of her family members had already been patients of surgeon Ronald Christopher, MD, so she had confidence in her surgeon and the hospital from the beginning. Now that she’s on the other side of the procedure, she says she highly recommends Dr. Christopher and the surgery at MHHS.

Modern Technology Personalized

Dr. Christopher has performed thousands of joint replacement procedures and says the latest robotic-assisted surgery is a form of technology that delivers consistent results. Dr. Christopher can create a completely customized plan for each patient.

“It’s planned with a CT scan so it’s extremely precise, and it gives the surgeon parameters to stay within,” Dr. Christopher says. “It develops consistent excellence.”

He explains that if he needs to make a change of a single degree, the robot will follow his specific guidance and make the change with exact precision. With a more perfectly placed joint, there is less risk of problems developing after the procedure, less need for readjustments and patients can expect a longer-lasting total joint replacement.

Justin Bigalke is the director of surgical services at MHHS, a department that sees hundreds of knee replacements every year. He agrees that robotic-assisted surgery is a game changer.

“It provides the patient a more precise bone cut so their implants will fit their anatomy perfectly, reducing the risk of re-operations in the future and improving the patients’ outcomes,” Bigalke says. “It also allows for reduced post-surgical pain by removing the need for a guide rod to be used in the femoral canal.”

Improving Quality of Life

“At Morristown-Hamblen we try to create a family atmosphere to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible while giving them the highest quality of care,” Bigalke says. “Our patients can rest assured they are getting the newest technology available to help them with their joint pain.”

When knee pain is so severe that it has an impact on your quality of life and day-to-day functioning, it’s time to get help. If you’ve already tried pain medications and other forms of treatment without significant relief, you might be a candidate for robotic-assisted knee replacement.

“Morristown now has state-of-the-art total joint replacement and there’s no need to go elsewhere,” Dr. Christopher says. “I’d really like to congratulate Morristown-Hamblen for its robotic-assisted surgery, and compliment Covenant Health for making that investment in the community.”

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