Robotic knee replacement: What are the advantages?

Written by: Mr Amit Vats
Published: | Updated: 26/06/2024
Edited by: Conor Dunworth

Knee replacement surgery has been a transformative solution for patients suffering from severe knee arthritis or injury. In recent years, robotic knee replacement has emerged as a revolutionary technique, offering several advantages over traditional methods. In his latest online article, renowned consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon Mr Amit Vats answers common questions about robotic knee replacement, including its differences from traditional surgery, recommendations, success rates, risks, and complications.

 

How is robotic knee replacement different from traditional knee replacement?

Traditional knee replacement surgery involves the surgeon manually cutting and shaping the bone to fit the knee implant. This method relies heavily on the surgeon’s skill and experience to achieve proper alignment and placement of the implant.

Robotic knee replacement, on the other hand, utilises advanced technology to enhance precision. Here’s how it differs:

  1. Pre-surgical planning: Robotic surgery begins with detailed imaging (CT or MRI scans) to create a 3D model of the patient's knee. This model helps in planning the exact placement and alignment of the implant.
  2. Intraoperative guidance: During the surgery, a robotic arm assists the surgeon by providing real-time data and guiding the tools to make precise cuts and adjustments.
  3. Accuracy: The robotic system allows for more accurate bone cutting and implant positioning, which can lead to better knee function and longevity of the implant.

 

When is robotic knee replacement recommended?

Robotic knee replacement is recommended for patients with:

  • Severe osteoarthritis: When conservative treatments like medications, physical therapy, and injections fail to alleviate pain and improve function.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: For patients with significant joint damage.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: Following a knee injury that leads to arthritis.
  • Previous unsuccessful surgeries: When a previous knee surgery did not yield satisfactory results.

Patients are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, considering their overall health, knee anatomy, and specific needs.

 

How successful is robotic knee replacement?

Robotic knee replacement has shown high success rates. Studies and clinical outcomes indicate:

  • Improved accuracy: The precision of the robotic system helps in achieving optimal implant placement, which can improve the joint's function and lifespan.
  • Faster recovery: Patients often experience less pain and quicker recovery times compared to traditional knee replacement.
  • Enhanced joint function: Better alignment and positioning of the implant can lead to improved knee function and greater patient satisfaction.

 

Are there any risks or complications?

While robotic knee replacement offers numerous benefits, it is not without risks. Potential complications include:

  • Infection: As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection.
  • Blood clots: Patients may develop blood clots in the legs or lungs post-surgery.
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage: Although rare, there is a risk of damage to surrounding nerves or blood vessels.
  • Implant Issues: Over time, the implant might wear out or become loose, necessitating revision surgery.

 

However, the precision of robotic surgery can reduce the likelihood of some complications associated with traditional knee replacement, such as misalignment and uneven wear of the implant.

 

 

Mr Amit Vats is a renowned consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon based in Chertsey, London & Surrey. If you would like to book a consultation with Mr Vats, you can do so today via his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Amit Vats
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Amit Vats is a leading consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon in Chertsey, Woking and London. He specialises in hip replacement, knee replacement and knee arthroscopy alongside knee cartilage surgery, knee pain and knee fracture. He privately practises at The Runnymede Hospital, Nuffield Health Woking Hospital and the Syon Clinic, while his NHS base is Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Here, he is the Chief of Patient Safety and Deputy Medical Director.

Mr Vats is highly qualified with an MB BS from the University College of Medical Science & Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, New Delhi, India, and a PhD in Academic Surgery/Patient Safety/Surgical Simulation from Imperial College London. He also undertook a fellowship in trauma and orthopaedics at the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS (Tr&Orth)), completing his training at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 

He then went on to undertake several post FRCS fellowships under Mr Mark Blyth and Mr Angus Maclean. He strengthened sub-specialist skills in knee arthroscopy (primary and revision), corrective osteotomies and knee cap alignment alongside arthroscopic knee surgery including cartilage repair and ligament reconstruction. He also enhanced his expertise in circular frame application for fracture management and limb deformity correction.

Mr Vats is a respected name in clinical teaching. He is heavily involved in teaching orthopaedic trainees, and is a knee module tutor on the University of Edinburgh's MCh Orthopaedics course.

Furthermore Mr Vats is a leading figure regarding patient safety. He piloted the WHO surgical checklist in the UK and also modified the checklist for the NHS. This list has since been mandated for use in all NHS and private surgeries around the country. He is committed to patient safety, and continues to develop programmes to integrate research and interventions into his everyday practise in order to improve patient care pathways. 

Mr Vats' clinical research has been published in various peer-reviewed journals and he is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

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