This year Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Hamilton became the only facility in southern and central New Jersey to offer MAKOPlasty, an innovative orthopedic surgery solution for those in need of total hip or partial knee replacements.

MAKOPlasty is performed using a surgeon-controlled robotic arm system that enables accurate alignment and placement of implants.

“Technology like this is a wonderful tool for the surgeon,” says Dr. John Schnell, section chief of orthopedics at RWJ Hamilton. “Through our Center for Orthopedic & Spine Health, we’ve invested in a number of resources like this to ensure our surgeons have the ability to give our patients the best outcomes possible.”

Robotic joint surgery systems have been shown to have a number of benefits for the patient, such as greater surgical accuracy and the potential for less implant wear and loosening. Patients may also experience improved surgical outcomes, shorter hospital stays and more predictable recovery following surgery.

“Having technology like this, which is often only available at hospitals in New York or Philadelphia, here at RWJ Hamilton is a great benefit for our patients, who can now get the state-of-the-art care they deserve close to home,” Schnell says.

Partial knee resurfacing — or replacement — is a treatment option for adults living with certain types of arthritis that do not yet involve all the parts of the knee and is less invasive than traditional total knee surgery. A pre-surgical plan is created based on a CT scan of the patient’s own knee, and the surgeon uses the robotic arm during surgery to resurface the diseased portion of the knee, sparing healthy bone, cartilage, and surrounding tissue for a more natural feeling knee. An implant is then secured in the joint to allow the knee to move smoothly again.

During the total hip replacement surgery, the technology provides visualization of the joint and biomechanical data to guide the bone preparation and implant positioning to match the pre-surgical plan.

“It makes me confident that what I’m doing is accurate,” says Dr. Michael Ast, medical director of robotic joint replacement at RWJ Hamilton. “It makes a huge difference in removing those outliers and making you more confident you’re doing the right thing for the patient every single time.”

In addition to MAKOPlasty, surgeons at RWJ Hamilton use tools like patient-specific instrumentation and handheld computer navigation that can help ensure precision, accuracy, and the potential for improved function as well as other benefits for the patient.

This emphasis on technology and quality has enabled RWJ Hamilton to become the only facility in the region to be certified by The Joint Commission — the national accreditation organization focused on quality — for total hip and knee replacement surgery as well as spine surgery.

More About RWJ Hamilton. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (RWJ Hamilton) is the first of two New Jersey hospitals to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, the hospital is part of the RWJ Health System and is affiliated with the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The RWJ Hamilton Health Care Corporation serves communities within a five-county area and includes an acute care hospital, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Hamilton, affiliated medical groups, six Lakeview Child Centers, and the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center. For more information, visit

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