Robotics-assisted knee replacement surgery is now available at BMI Healthcare. But how does it differ from existing methods? And what are the potential benefits?
What is robotics-assisted surgery?
Although it sounds like science fiction, robotics-assisted surgery is an established practice. Robots have been helping surgeons perform orthopaedic procedures for more than 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 still guided by their hands.2
In the case of knee replacement surgery, the technology allows for more accuracy and precision than conventional methods.2
There are a number of different orthopaedic robots. This article focuses on NAVIOTM, which several of our surgeons use to perform knee surgery.
How does the NAVIOTM system work?
First, NAVIOTM scans your knee, feeding detailed information into a specialised computer program. This is then used to create a virtual 3D model of your joint.
Your surgeon will use this model to create a highly personalised plan for the procedure.
During the operation, NAVIOTM relays precise information about your knee to a robotics-assisted hand piece that is guided by the surgeon.
The assistance NAVIOTM gives your surgeon before and during the procedure allows them to be more accurate in removing the damaged part of your knee without harming healthy parts.
It also allows them to be more precise when placing your knee prosthesis.3
The Consultant's View
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Adam Hoad-Reddick from BMI The Alexandra Hospital explains the differences between conventional and robotics-assisted surgery.
- How does robotics-assisted knee surgery compare to traditional methods?
Robotics-assisted surgery allows surgeons to be more personalised when choosing and implanting a prosthesis, which can significantly aid our accuracy.
Instead of using predetermined angles and measurements to plan the procedure, the advanced software associated with the NAVIOTM robotic system helps surgeons to pinpoint the correct placement for your individual joint.
We hope that this accuracy will improve long-term patient satisfaction after knee replacement surgery. With traditional methods, up to one in five patients have been somewhat dissatisfied with conventional knee replacement surgery.4
The reasons for this are not fully understood. They may be related to changes in the way that the knee moves, the alignment of the knee, the rotational profile or subtle changes in ligament balance.
With robotics-assisted knee replacement surgery, we hope that patients will feel that the new knee is more like their own, more comfortable and natural feeling with an improved range of movement in comparison to historical knee replacement systems.
There are already studies using NAVIOTM that have shown patients experience less post-operative pain, an improved range of movement and an earlier return to work.5
What are the advantages of NAVIOTM robotics-assisted knee surgery?
The benefits of NAVIOTM knee replacement surgery compared to traditional methods can include:
1. No need for a CT scan
The NAVIOTM surface-mapping technology creates a 3D model of your knee without the need for a CT scan.3
2. Less pain
The advanced technology could lead to a less invasive procedure, meaning you could be in less pain in the days and weeks following surgery.5
3. Faster recovery times
One study showed that patients undergoing NAVIOTM robotics-assisted partial knee replacement were able to return to sports an average of six months faster than with traditional surgery.6
4. A more natural feeling knee
NAVIOTM allows surgeons to offer partial rather than full knee replacements in more instances. This can result in a more natural feeling knee.
5. Lower chance of revision
Studies suggest robotics-assisted knee replacements leave patients more satisfied and can lower the chance of repeat surgery being needed.7
The Consultant's View
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Winston Kim from BMI The Alexandra Hospital shares advice on the advantages of the NAVIOTM surgical system.
- What are the benefits of robotics-assisted knee surgery?
The robotic technology guides the implantation of the prosthesis, allowing for improved precision and accuracy.
This can offer benefits including less pain after the operation, a reduced hospital stay, a quicker return to day-to-day activities and a faster return to work.5
The technology has the potential to reduce early and late complications and improve the likelihood of a normal feeling knee after surgery.4
In my experience I have found that the technology reassures my patients about their surgery. This can allow them to focus on rehabilitation and exercises, which are crucial after partial and total knee replacement.8
What will recovery be like?
Recovery times vary for each individual and are also affected by the type of knee replacement surgery you have.7
While robotics-assisted knee replacements can result in reduced recovery times,5 it is still a serious operation. Be sure to speak to your consultant about a realistic timescale for your personal recovery.
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