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After living with constant pain in his knee, this hunter is excited to get outdoors again.

Robert Nye of Millheim wasn’t going to let knee pain get in the way of another hunting season. “It was like having a constant toothache — dull pain all the time. But if I stepped wrong or twisted it, the pain became unbearable,” he explains. “I’d been getting injections at Geisinger Gray’s Woods, which worked for a while. But by last fall, I knew it was time for surgery.”

Robert hunted and fished through the 2019 season, but once it was over, he scheduled Mako® robotic-arm-assisted knee surgery at Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital with orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Christopher Damsgaard.

Putting an end to knee pain with Mako joint replacement surgery

At the time, Mako robotic arm assisted joint replacement surgeries were not available any closer to Robert’s home. But as of June 2020, these procedures are being offered at Geisinger Lewistown Hospital with two surgeons certified to perform them — Dr. Michael Sobolewski and Dr. Suresh Patil.

“I couldn’t be more excited about being able to offer Mako robotic assisted joint replacement procedures to our patients,” says Dr. Sobolewski. “The technology is truly incredible.”

Mako surgeries begin with a CT scan of a person’s joint, which is used to generate a 3D virtual model of their unique anatomy.

“The virtual model is loaded into the Mako system’s computer where I then use it to create a personalized plan for the upcoming procedure,” explains Dr. Sobolewski. “During surgery, I guide the robotic arm which allows me to be more precise during the procedure compared to traditional surgeries.”

Mako’s precision means faster recovery times for patients like Robert, who was able to leave the hospital the day of his procedure. “Robert’s surgery was at 8 a.m., and by 2:30 that afternoon, he was walking and doing stairs with his physical therapist. By 4:30, he was free to go home,” says David N. Wojtowicz, operations manager of Rehabilitation Services at Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital.

Continuing therapy at home after knee replacement

Once he was home, Robert took charge of his own rehabilitation using Force Therapeutics, a digital platform that gave him exercises to complete and let him keep in touch with his care team.

“I was supposed to do my exercises twice a day,” he laughs. “But I didn’t want to baby my knee, so I pushed myself to three or four times. That was a mistake, so I cut it back. Force Therapeutics worked great when I followed the recommendations.”

This spring, Robert is already looking forward to hunting season. He’s also thinking about eventually having his right knee done. Luckily for him, when he’s ready for the surgery, he won’t have to drive from Millheim to Coal Township to find it.

“I’d definitely recommend this surgery to anyone who’s been considering it,” says Robert. “I can do what I want now without worrying about knee pain. What a relief!”

Next steps:

Make an appointment with Christopher Damsgaard, MD
Make an appointment with Michael Sobolewski, DO
Make an appointment with Suresh Patil, MD
Learn more about orthopaedic surgery at Geisinger

Robert Nye on his boat.