Robots performing operations may seem like something out of a sci-fi film, but the technology is already here! In recent years, robotic surgery has revolutionised the medical world, with applications in various procedures on different parts of the body. Distinguished orthopaedic surgeon Mr Kirti Moholkar explains robotic knee surgery.
What is a robotic-assisted knee replacement?
A CT scan must be carried out prior to surgery. This will show each patient’s unique anatomy and bone structure. Robotic software analyses this scan of the patient’s knee to plan out the fine details of the knee replacement operation, including the placement of the implant, achieving correct leg alignment, and balancing the ligaments. Amazingly, the plan is not set in stone by the program – it adapts in real time to changes in the situation. On top of this, the surgeon is always needed to control the robot, while the robot is able to position the implant with a much higher degree of accuracy than the surgeon alone.
Aside from the fact that a machine is holding the scalpel, the procedure is carried out no differently than a traditional knee replacement. However, it requires an expert surgeon with special training, who works doubly hard to analyse the CT scan and control the operation via the robot.
Where is the doctor while the robot is performing?
Many patients hear the term “robot” surgery and wonder “Will my surgeon be in the coffee room while the robot performs an operation?” Don’t worry, this could not be further from the truth. The robot cannot move a millimetre without the surgeon to guide it. Your doctor will be there in the operating theatre every step of the way. The robot is simply an extra hand to help the surgeon analyse and complete the knee replacement procedure.
Why robotic knee replacement?
The main advantage of robotic knee replacement surgery is that it provides a high degree of accuracy in planning and executing the procedure. This makes it unlikely to fail and this is why the Droitwich Knee Clinic has entered into this field of surgery.
The Droitwich Knee Clinic has been performing knee surgery for the last 30 years, with a focus on achieving the best possible outcome for the patient. We have evaluated all the available technologies, including the MAKO robot, in order to choose the best for our patients, and create individualised treatment plans for each case.
However, robotic technology in surgery is still in its infancy, with new research and data being published on its efficacy and new advances being made all the time. Before a patient requests this surgery, it is important to understand exactly what it is and what it entails.
I consider knee replacement surgery one of my areas of expertise and this is why I have taken time to study, analyse, and master robotic-assisted techniques to carry out this procedure. This technology could well be the dawn of a new future for surgery.