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Tinley Park Woman Cruising on Stairs Pain-Free Thanks to Innovative Robotic Total Knee Replacement Surgery at Silver Cross

Tinley Park Woman Cruising on Stairs Pain-Free Thanks to Innovative Robotic Total Knee Replacement Surgery at Silver Cross

Delphine Pankonin loves to spend time with her granddaughter, however, severe pain in her knee limited her mobility. She’s had minor arthritis in her knees for a while, but it started to affect her everyday life; including walking up and down the stairs in her own home.

In April, Delphine , 71, scheduled a visit with Dr. Andrew Ehmke, surgeon with the Midwest Institute of Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, and an X-ray revealed the source of her pain was deteriorated cartilage in her knee joint. Delphine , who lives in Tinley Park, was able to get a steroid injection, but that treatment only lasted a few weeks. “I told him to schedule me for knee surgery and I’m coming!”

So on July 20, 2017 Delphine became one of the first patients at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox to undergo a total knee replacement using the Mako Robotic System. Delphine was already familiar with Dr. Ehmke, who performed her hip surgery last year.

Silver Cross Hospital is currently the only facility in Will and Grundy counties to offer hip and knee replacement procedures using the Mako Surgical Robot. The Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital performs more robotic-assisted surgeries than any other facility in the Chicago area.

Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System

Surgeons create a detailed plan specific to each patient. Patients, such as Delphine , get a CT scan of the joint, which the surgeon uses to create a 3D virtual model of the knee. The Mako system helps guide the surgeon within the pre-defined area and prevents the surgeon from moving outside the planed boundaries.

“Robotic surgery allows me to accurately restore the anatomy of the knee because of the precision of the Mako Robot,” Dr. Ehmke said. “I am still the one performing the operation and have full control over the robot. The robot is just another tool to ensure accurate placement of the implant.”

Delphine said Dr. Ehmke explained the whole procedure prior to surgery, and made her feel more comfortable.

“From the very first time I saw him, I liked his bedside manner,” she said. “He explains everything very thoroughly. That’s why I came back to him for my knee.”


Delphine is currently going through physical therapy, and she said her recovery is going very well.

“Just a few weeks after surgery and Delphine’s recovery is going extremely well thanks to the Mako Robot.” Dr. Ehmke said.

“I only had to use my cane for one week. Then my physical therapist took it away from me,” she laughed. “I can walk stairs now. So I’m very excited about my progress.”

Click here to learn more about Mako-assisted knee replacement surgery.

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