ROCHESTER, N.Y. – New technology is improving knee replacement surgery for patients at Rochester Regional Health. The robotically assisted surgery allows doctors to customize the procedure for each patient.
Joey Pierleoni, 58, was one of those patients. The longtime drummer said knee pain started getting in the way of his passion about five years ago.
“Just loading and unloading the drums, carrying the pieces then playing for 15-20 minutes and getting off the drums and not being able to walk,” said Pierleoni.
In old photos he points to his bowed legs prior to his first surgery.
His left knee was replaced using the conventional method. More recently, he had his right done with the new robotic assisted surgery at Rochester Regional Health.
The new technology allows doctors to create a virtual 3D model of the knee.
“That’s important because each patient’s anatomy is very unique so no two knees are exactly the same,” said Dr. Colin Canham, Medical Director of the Joint Replacement Center at Rochester General Hospital.
Dr. Canham performed both of Pierleoni’s surgeries. He says the conventional method didn’t allow for customization prior to surgery. That leads to a quicker recovery for patients.
“We’re able to optimize the patients knee range of motion and also just how that knee moves meaning how their ligaments are balanced, how tight or loose that knee is — we are really trying to get a sweet spot,” said Dr. Canham.
Pierleoni says his recovery was cut in half.
“Where I was at six months with the left one, I was at three months with this one. I mean I was just flying through it with this one. Walking in my neighborhood two weeks after with my physical therapist,” he said.
He’s also back behind his drum set feeling better than ever.
“I don’t have to worry about getting up and falling over. I can actually play and get up and walk around and carry my stuff. It’s great. The power is there. I’m hitting them harder now than I did 20 years ago,” said Pierleoni.