Local doctor performs 500th surgery using robot technology

Dr. Dennis Weigel at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists in Alexandria has now used the Mako robot system on 500 patients.

The Mako robot system helps surgeons pre-plan procedures and perform surgeries with the assistance of a robotic arm’s precise guidance to prepare the bone and insert an implant. The device uses a computerized tomography (CT) scan to create a template for each patient.

“It’s got a good track record, and it matches up very well with the surgical approach,” Weigel said. “It was a pretty seamless integration because it attaches to similar instruments that we use with a manual total joint procedure.”

The technology started as a partial knee replacement device, but Weigel said it can now be used on a wider range of surgeries, including total knee and hip replacements. Although knee replacement patients take a little more time to recover a full range of motion, Weigel said overall recovery rate has improved and shortened.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“It’s been very positive as far as patient experience,” he said. “If you look where we were 20 years ago compared to today, it’s pretty amazing that people are going home after one night in the hospital.”

Julie Hansen,61, of Alexandria had been experiencing intense hip pain that intensified over a five-year span. She went to see Weigel, and he performed her hip replacement with the help of the Mako system.

“Even that same day of surgery, I was back on my feet and walking the halls and everything was wonderful,” Hansen said.

The day she returned home, Hansen said she was able to walk 6,000 steps. Prior to using the Mako system, Weigel said patients would spend days or weeks recovering in the hospital.

“Before scheduling the surgery, I had made plans to go to northern Minnesota with a few other couples to go hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail,” she said. “I had a goal five weeks out after surgery to be able to go do that. So, that’s what we did.”

New hire at ORB Real Estate

ORB Real Estate announced the addition of Janet Jensen-Zastrow to its team. Jensen-Zastrow grew up in a family business, Ideal Beach Resort on Lake Miltona, and recently moved back to the area after living in the Twin Cities.

Prior to joining ORB Real Estate, Jensen-Zastrow worked at UnitedHealthcare where she created engagement strategies and worked with providers and clinical associations at the national level. She has also had experience in the real estate industry and a history of community service. Jensen-Zastrow currently chairs the COVID-19 safety team at Faith Lutheran Church in Miltona and is a member of the church council.

She will be working at the ORB Real Estate office in Alexandria, serving East Otter Tail and Douglas County. ORB Real Estate also has offices in Fergus Falls, Minn., and Castle Rock, Colo.

ORB Real Estate is owned by Dave Johnson and two partners: Kim Barse and Tom Wacholz. Barse and Wachholz own ORB Management, which offers owner representation services for clients developing or improving real estate. For more information about ORB Real Estate or to speak with Jensen-Zastrow, call 320-762-2077 or visit www.orbrealestate.com.

Janet Jensen-Zastrow
Janet Jensen-Zastrow

Cost Cutters closing in Alexandria

After 36 years of business, Cost Cutters Hair Salon in Alexandria will be closing at the end of 2020.

Located in the Midway Mall, the salon offers haircuts for men, women and kids as well as hair styling and color services.

Cost Cutters has around 700 salon locations in 37 states. Other locations in Minnesota include Cloquet, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Hibbing, Marshall, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Rochester, St. Joseph, St. Paul, Sauk Rapids, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Willmar, Winona and Woodbury. For more information, visit costcutters.com.