A Publication of WTVP

Improving Results with Robotic Surgeries

Robotic surgeries at UnityPoint Health are enhancing patient recovery and long-term outcomes.
by Brian Boesen, UnityPoint Health |
Mako Systems

What used to be a simple walk down the grocery store aisle was becoming too much for Ann McCumber. For months, she had been struggling with increasing pain in her knee. “I was having so much pain it interfered with my regular life,” she explains. “At the grocery store, I was leaning on the cart just to keep going. I couldn’t even lift a bag of groceries. I couldn’t enjoy the things that I enjoyed before.”

Moving Again, Pain-Free
So, McCumber made the call that would get her moving again, pain-free. She was connected with UnityPoint Health and Midwest Orthopaedic Center surgeon, Dr. Thomas Mulvey, who told her about the benefits of Mako robotic-assisted surgery—only available at UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois. “I experienced a very good outcome because of the accuracy,” says McCumber. “There isn’t really anything I can’t do. My left knee that was replaced is so much better than my right knee now. Now it’s my right knee that’s holding me back.”

“We’re really excited about the opportunity to offer this to our patients here in central Illinois,” notes Dr. Mulvey. “UnityPoint Health has made a significant investment in patients, in this community, and we’re thankful for that.”

Along with the surgery team at UnityPoint Health, Dr. Mulvey was among the first in the region to use the Mako robot, which can be used to perform total knee, total hip and partial knee replacements. “With the Mako robotic arm, we’re able to perform hip and knee replacements more precisely… so we can get to the outcomes we really want—that should help people do better post-operatively,” he explains. “Anything we can do to improve the patient’s recovery and long-term outcome, that’s just going to lead to better results.”

Another Game-Changer
In addition to the Mako robot, UnityPoint Health recently unveiled its brand-new, state-of-the-art MAZOR X robotic spine surgery system. With minimally-invasive robotic technology, world-class spinal surgery is also available for the first time in central Illinois. The MAZOR X system is only offered at UnityPoint Health and a handful of hospitals around the country.

The MAZOR X spinal robot provides many benefits to patients by enhancing accuracy and improving the safety and overall efficiency of the surgery. It does this by producing precise, minimally-invasive placements of spinal implants with minimum tissue disruption, leading to better outcomes for people of all ages. “We are extremely excited to have this new technology,” says Amy Hill, Director of Surgical Services at UnityPoint Health. “We are constantly looking for innovative opportunities to provide high-quality care and improve the experience for the people we care for.” 

The Mazor X software aids the surgeon in creating a detailed pre-operative surgical plan customized for each patient through 3D blueprint imaging of the spinal surgery site. The robotic system understands the environment of the surgical site scanned before surgery, which helps the robot learn where it can and can’t move, allowing the surgeon optimal precision. It can be used for adult and pediatric surgeries. 

“This is a game changer for patients,” says Dr. Patrick O’Leary of Midwest Orthopaedic Center. “We expect their recovery to be quicker, with less pain. In addition, we expect a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to function for our patients.” PM

For more information or to make an appointment, call (833) 662-3278 or visit