Eric Mingledorff’s Mako-Assisted Total Knee Replacement Story

“It’s the only way to go.”
Eric Mingledorff described his experience with Mako robot-assisted knee replacement while sitting in a hangar at the Hardeman airport. A pilot from the age of 15, these days he enjoys retirement while working on his own aerobatic airplane. Being a pilot is a very physical job, one which requires a great deal of bending, kneeling, and moving in tight quarters. In order to keep up with the physical demands of piloting, Eric needs his joints to move smoothly, and with relatively little to no pain. He took a break from his mechanical work to discuss the pros and cons (spoiler alert, he listed no cons) to having his knee replacement performed using the assistance of the Mako robotic arm.

Eric has the benefit of comparison – he had his first knee replacement in 2015 under the traditional, non-assisted standard operation. He says recovery took a while, with 25-26 physical therapy sessions post-surgery. Even then, he explains that he was unable to kneel on his new knee without pain for several years.

A Completely Different Experience 
The Mako-assisted knee replacement for his second knee, performed in February 2019, however, offered a completely different post-surgery experience. Eric says he used a walker for one day after surgery before moving to a cane for three or four days, and after that was able to walk unassisted. He spent a fraction of time in physical therapy after this surgery – nine sessions versus the prior 25-26 sessions – and says he improved so quickly he could have comfortably stopped after the fifth physical therapy visit. Within a few short months after surgery, he could kneel gently on his new knee with no pain.

Eric attributes the improved experience to the Mako procedure’s utilization of a pre-operational CT scan to help the surgeon precisely craft the knee appliance specific to his own anatomy for a perfect fit.

Eric says his experience with the Mako-assisted knee replacement is “300% better” than his experience with the standard surgery. He credits his decision to have the Mako surgery to a friend who had undergone his own knee replacement. When Eric began to consider his second knee replacement, his friend urged him to find a Mako surgeon. When a second friend separately advised the same, Eric knew he had to do some research.

He discovered OrthoSouth surgeon Dr. Jean Simard via a Google search. Eric read several 5-star reviews about Dr. Simard and learned of his use of the Mako robotic arm at Saint Francis Hospital for knee and hip replacement surgeries. He didn’t hesitate to make an appointment and get his surgery on the books.

Eric describes Dr. Simard as “a wonderful doctor” and says “the service was great!”

Today, he’s back to doing what he loves, much sooner than he believes he would have been without Dr. Simard and the Mako-assisted surgery.

About Dr. Jean Simard and the Saint Francis Mako Robot Arm
The Mako robot at Saint Francis is the only one of its kind in the Greater Memphis Area, and Dr. Simard is one of a handful of Mid-South surgeons who uses it. He performed the first Mako total knee replacement in Memphis in April 2018.

“Mako robotic-arm assisted knee and hip replacement surgery is a more precise and reproducible technique than the standard surgery, “ Dr. Simard stated. “Patients have less pain post-op and recover faster.”

Dr. Simard uses the Mako system for both knee and hip replacements. “About every patient who is a candidate for hip or knee replacement is a candidate for Mako technology,” he says.

Dr. Simard is a dual board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacement, shoulder and arthroscopic surgery. He utilizes the latest technologies including Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for partial knee, total knee and hip replacement surgery. Dr. Simard received his medical degree from Laval University School of Medicine in Quebec, Canada. After completing his orthopedic residency, he went to the Mayo Clinic as a visiting physician doing rotations in hip, knee and shoulder reconstructions and then did a trauma fellowship at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Simard also served on staff at a teaching hospital as a clinical instructor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He was involved in many research projects and has given numerous presentations at different orthopaedic conferences.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Simard to find out if the Mako-assisted knee or hip replacement is right for you, call us at 901.641.3000 or book your appointment online here.