We answer common questions about robotic-arm assisted surgery and consider the potential benefits compared to traditional knee replacement procedures.
What is robotic-arm assisted surgery?
It may sound like science fiction, but robotic-arm assisted surgery is an established practice. Robots have been helping surgeons perform orthopaedic procedures for over 25 years.1
The idea of ‘robot surgery’ may sound daunting, but procedures are still carried out by surgeons. The technology is there to aid doctors – not replace them – and is guided by their hands.2
In the case of a knee replacement operation, the technology allows for more accuracy and precision than conventional methods.
Mako® is one of several orthopaedic robots used to perform knee surgery. The technology is now available at some BMI Healthcare hospitals
The Consultant's View
Mr James Webb, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at BMI Woodlands Hospital, offers his advice on robotic-arm assisted surgery.
- How does robotic-arm assisted surgery differ from traditional methods?
Mr Webb is fully certified to perform both hip and knee replacements using the Mako® system. More information on robotic-arm assisted hip surgery can be found here.
Over the years, hip and knee replacements have undergone countless improvements. Mako®; robotic-arm assisted knee replacement surgery is an example of how technology can be used to improve outcomes for patients.
When you hear ‘robotics-assisted technology,’ it’s important to understand that the Mako® robotic arm does not actually perform the surgery.
The procedure is performed by the surgeon, who uses the Mako® software to pre-plan the surgery and then perform it with the assistance of the robotic arm.
The surgeon guides the robotic arm to remove diseased bone and cartilage. The hip or knee implant is then inserted into the position determined to be optimal for the individual patient.
Mako® can make this placement more precise than in conventional surgery.3
Mako® technology has been designed to help surgeons in their efforts to provide a personalised surgical experience, with each surgical plan being based on a patient's individual and specific diagnosis and anatomy.
Mako® robotic-arm assisted surgery not only aims to improve the positioning of hip and knee implants, it also reduces the amount of bone needed to be removed in order to implant them.4
Current evidence so far suggests that this system offers benefits in terms of improved function in patients as well as reduced rates of revision (redo) surgery.5
How does the Mako® technology work?
Mako® is the latest orthopaedic technology to come to BMI Healthcare. It’s an advancement in the way our surgeons carry out both full and partial knee replacements.
The system helps our surgeons both before and after your procedure, aiding with accuracy throughout.3
1. A personalised surgical plan
You’ll have a CT scan taken of your knee joint before the operation. The Mako® software uses this to create a virtual model of your joint.
Your surgeon then uses this model to design an individualised plan for surgery.
2. Continued assessment
Throughout the procedure, Mako® sends real-time data to the surgeon. This means they can constantly assess the plan and make changes if and when necessary.
3. Accurate bone removal
As the surgeon guides the robotic arm to remove damaged bone and cartilage, Mako® creates a virtual boundary to protect the healthy parts.
This helps your surgeon stay within the boundaries of the plan.
4. Precise implant placement
The Mako® technology also helps to place your implant (prosthesis), offering greater accuracy than conventional methods.3
What are the benefits of Mako®robotic-arm assisted knee surgery?
There are various potential benefits of robotic-arm assisted knee surgery with Mako®. These can include:
Studies show that people who have had robotic-arm assisted knee replacements experience less pain in the days and weeks after their operations.6
You could also feel less pain in the six months following surgery.7
You could be back on your feet faster with Mako®.
Robotic-arm assisted surgery has shown to get people back to normal quicker than traditional methods.7
One study of partial knee replacements found that 9 out of 10 patients were walking without aid after three weeks. After six weeks, 85% were back at work.8
Greater accuracy and precision
Mako® can help your surgeon place your knee implant more precisely.3
Precision in implantation is a significant factor in the success of a knee replacement.9
Less chance of damage to surrounding soft tissue and ligaments
Mako® gives your surgeon greater control over the procedure and establishes boundaries to protect the healthy parts of your knee.4
In one study, 91% of people who had robotic-arm assisted knee surgery were either satisfied or very satisfied after five years.5
What will recovery be like?
After a knee replacement, your recovery time will depend on various factors, including your personal circumstances and the type of surgery you have had.10
While robotics-assisted knee replacements can result in reduced recovery times,11 it is still a significant operation. Be sure to speak to your consultant about a realistic timescale for your personal recovery.
To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337 or make an online enquiry.
8Coon T, Shi S, DeBattista J. Clinical and functional outcomes of robotic-arm assisted medial unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. Europe Knee Society 2017 Annual Meeting. London, England. Poster No. P59. April 19-21, 2017