CMH’s Early Adoption of Robotic Surgical Technology Leads Region in Joint Replacement Expertise

When people think of technological advancement in health care, they often imagine giant medical centers in big cities. But just as often, the adoption of advanced medical technology starts far closer to home.

That’s the case with joint replacement technology known as Mako, which was adopted by Columbia Memorial Health in 2017.

Mako is a robotic surgical system that allows specially trained surgeons to dramatically improve the geometric accuracy of joint replacements. The result is more perfectly aligned joints that perform better, feel better, and should last longer. For the patient, that means quicker recovery times, a more natural feeling joint, and a better quality of life.

The Mako system uses 3-dimensional images of the patient’s knee or hip, and guides and stabilizes surgical tools in accordance with the surgeon’s plan to more accurately align the new joint with the patient’s natural anatomy.

“Every person’s anatomy is unique,” said CMH Orthopaedic Surgeon Christopher Gorczynski, MD. “What Mako gives us is the ability to implant joint replacements that are uniquely optimized to match the individual patient’s anatomy.”

Orthopaedic Surgeon Louis DiGiovanni, MD, agrees: “You just can’t get the same degree of accuracy, geometric alignment and natural feel through conventional surgery,” he said. “It gives our patients a tremendous advantage.”

CMH was the first hospital in the capital region to adopt the Mako system. However, the technology itself isn’t the whole the story.

“Like any tool, what matters even more than the technology is the expertise in using it,” said CMH Chief Medical Officer Clifford Belden, MD. “Doctors Gorczynski and DiGiovanni have been using Mako for over three years and have successfully completed hundreds of knee and hip replacement surgeries. This has made them the most experienced surgeons in the Capital District with Mako joint surgeries.”

Doctors Belden, Gorczynski and DiGiovanni agree on the benefits of an experienced Mako surgical team. They also agree that patients who suffer from joint pain need not fear joint replacement surgery during the pandemic. Every week, the CMH orthopaedic team safely conducts numerous joint replacement and other orthopaedic procedures that produce life changing results for their patients.

In communities large or small, technology and expertise avail themselves to those who recognize their potential. The early adoption and mastery of the Mako system by CMH’s joint replacement team is what sets them apart, and what gives their patients a considerable “leg up” when it comes to the best possible joint replacement outcomes.



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I received incredible care in the Emergency Department and the Emergency Observation Unit at Columbia Memorial Health. A heartfelt thank you to the entire team for saving my life. My wife of 30 years, my four children, my extended family and friends are forever grateful to the CMH Emergency/Observation teams, Dr. Stanger, Dr. Weber, P.A. Patrick, RN Justin, RN Miranda, and RN Rhonda.
Richard Cyr, New Ipswich, NH

An avalanche of medical staff descended on the cubicle and surrounded her bed, and while the doctor asked her questions, the rest went about their dedicated tasks with speed and professionalism. I stood back and watched with tears welling in my eyes as I realized that someone I loved very deeply was receiving the benefit of a highly skilled, well trained and dedicated team of nurses and doctors who are a credit to the ER and your hospital.

Stuart Russell, Craryville, NY

We think we will never need an emergency room visit, but most likely it will happen. When that time does occur, we all hope for the best physicians and care possible you will find at Columbia Memorial Health. We in Columbia and Greene Counties are blessed with a very special hospital and caring staff. I would suggest, we as residents, support this institution in every way possible as one day it will be your turn to visit as it was mine.

Anne Schomaker, Kinderhook, NY

I’ve had a home here for 16 years, but have never had cause to visit your ER or hospital beyond visiting a friend. Well, that changed this past week. What I wanted to share that from my time in the ER to my stay in the hospital I was impressed with the level of care I received and the friendly attitude that accompanied it. I was bracing for the worst, especially given the pandemic — and so was doubly surprised. What was also striking to me was that this was the case from the Doctor level to the maintenance level. And it wasn’t just me – I could observe the same treatment applied to others, some of whom were particularly challenging to deal with. Thank you for all you do and thank you for all you did for me on my recent visit. It’s great to know there’s a place like CMH to turn to when you’re amidst a health crisis.