Dr. Robert Limoni of the Orthopedic & Sports Institute
Now in his 20th year as a surgeon, Robert Limoni has a simple way of summarizing his philosophy.
“Focus on what you’re good at, then work to be better at it,” said Limoni.
The orthopedic surgeon has been an early adopter of processes that have become main- stream – for one, Limoni performed Northeast Wisconsin’s first anterior hip replacement pro- cedure in 2009 – and he continues to push the envelope as a surgeon and as a designer of medical equipment. Since the early 2000s, he’s invented numerous medical devices, products and surgical aides.
Limoni is passionate about new technology, and his patients are the beneficiaries of his vision. He specializes in anterior hip replacement, total joint replacement, minimally invasive hip and knee procedures, orthopedic trauma, sports medicine and SI joint fusion.
Joining the Orthopedic & Sports Institute in 2020, Limoni has dedicated two decades of practice to getting patients back to their lifestyle, and he fits right in with the independent group.
“What really drew me to OSI is that the physicians here make the decisions, so what is best for the patient is what really happens,” Limoni said. “OSI provides a comprehensive array of conservative options — I’m a big proponent of conservative care — as well as a rapid recovery environment to optimize surgical outcomes.”
OSI is a recognized leader in robotic surgery and has two distinct platforms for joint replacement surgeries, Stryker’s Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery and ZimmerBiomet’s ROSA Knee System. Limoni is trained in both and recently became the first surgeon in Wisconsin to perform a case using the ROSA system.
Limoni is also the design surgeon for a company developing positioning aids to assist robotic surgeons that debuted at OSI this summer. The company, co-created by Limoni, uses all local sources for the plastics and metals needed for the devices.
“We’ve got several patents to help patient safety and improve sterility in the operating room,” said Limoni. “We also introduced a new ankle distractor for ankle arthroscopy that was introduced at OSI earlier this year.”
Limoni also co-authored a landmark publication for SI joint disorders which transformed treatment worldwide and was one of the first orthopedic surgeons in the country to perform SI joint fusion, a surgery traditionally done by spine surgeons.
Limoni has done more than 200 fusions for hip patients with SI joint problems.
When Limoni isn’t seeing patients at OSI locations in Appleton, De Pere and Marinette or developing new medical devices, he’s busy with his organic farm, Door Karma Farms, in Door County and enjoying the Wisconsin outdoors.
A father of three, Limoni grew up in Manitowoc (his dad was a physician as well), earning his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1996. His internship and residency were completed at Grand Rapids Medical Education and Research Center and Michigan State University. He then returned to Wisconsin, where he’s been practicing ever since.
“I got into orthopedics because you basically treat every age, from kids to the elderly,” said Limoni. “I enjoy treating kids but have found myself working more and more with people fur- ther along in their life.”
Limoni highlighted the progress made in delivering total joint procedures. Traditionally sur- geons did not have the means to block pain in the first day or two, but it has advanced to the point where many patients are candidates to be sent home the same day.
“Most of my total joint patients are home in 23 hours,” said Limoni.
Also noted was the trend that has moved more procedures to the outpatient setting because of the high-quality care patients receive at a lower cost. According to Medicare data, patients who have their surgery in an ASC (such as OSI) pay an average of 41% less than those having the same surgery in a hospital.
The innovator is excited about the develop- ments that build on existing robotic surgical technology.
“We’re talking microbots and completely autonomous robots,” said Limoni.
Limoni is careful, however, about what technologies he introduces to his patients.
“I have seen several times in my career new technologies get introduced that really had no cost or outcome benefit for patients,” said Limoni. “So, while I continually search for new ways to improve the techniques and products we use to treat patients, I put serious focus on what can actually deliver the safest, best outcomes.”
If all this sounds like Limoni has a difficult time slowing down, well, he’s working on it.
“I actually like to sit down sometimes – which I do a little more often than I used to – just think about things,” said Limoni. “Because if we don’t have time to think about things, we can’t make things better for patients.”