A robotic knee replacement is the same as a regular knee replacement with the assistance of a robotic arm, resulting in greater precision and a more natural feeling knee.
Why use a Robotic-arm assisted Total Knee Replacement?
During a traditional knee replacement procedure, damaged tissue in the knee is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. A robotic-arm assisted knee replacement is the same procedure performed with the assistance of a robotic arm. Because the Robotic technology results in greater precision, surgeons can customize knee replacements to each patient’s anatomy, which in turn can result in more ‘natural feeling’ knee.
What does a Robotic-arm assisted Total Knee Replacement involve?
In the weeks before your Knee operation, a 3D CT scan of your Knee is undertaken, which is then processed by the Robot. Your surgeon, with the assistance of the Robotic Arm Technology, plans the surgical procedure within a fraction of a millimetre
Your consultant is always in control during the operation. However, the robotic-arm assisted technology allows the consultant to perform the joint replacement with pinpoint accuracy, tailored to your anatomy, Knee size and alignment. The robot does NOT perform the surgery, but during the operation, the robotic arm uses data from the 3D model to create a predefined space for the surgeon to work in, preventing them from accidentally damaging the surrounding tissue.
A Total Knee Replacement is usually done under a regional anaesthetic (which numbs you from the waist down) or sometimes under a general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep).
The surgeon will begin by making an incision of around 10-15cm, allowing the kneecap to be moved aside and the damaged joint surfaces to be cut away. After testing the components for proper function, the parts of the new knee are fitted. The incision is then closed. A Total Knee Replacement usually takes about 1-1.5 hours depending on the type of procedure
- Early results suggest that Robotic-arm assisted knee replacements have a shortened recovery time. Smaller incisions and more precise implant placement can probably speed up body’s natural healing process, thus reducing the recovery period
- Although Knee replacements are extremely successful in alleviating pain in the majority, up to 1 in 5 patients are not fully satisfied with the outcome. Patients desire to have a ‘natural feeling’ knee with no joint awareness viz a ’forgotten knee’. With precise implantation tailored to a patient’s anatomy, knee size and alignment, robotic-arm assisted surgery is more likely to result in a natural feeling forgotten knee
Commonest causes of Knee Pain are due to Osteo/Rheumatoid Arthritis or Posttraumatic Arthritis. Those who benefit from a Knee replacement have one of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain or stiffness in the Knee that limits day to day activities like walking, climbing stairs, and getting into and out of vehicles. Walking distance may be restricted and may need the use of a stick.
- Knee deformity: bow leg or knock knee
- Severe Knee pain at rest or disturbing sleep
- Failure to improve with other treatments like pain killers/anti-inflammatory tablets, cortisone injections or physiotherapy
If you are a good candidate for traditional knee replacement surgery, then you are a good candidate for robotic arm assisted procedure.
After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room for a few hours, before being moved to a hospital room where you will stay for one to two days. You will be given painkillers such as opioids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
You are encouraged to start moving your foot and ankle as soon as possible, to increase blood flow through the leg muscles and reduce the risk of blood clots. Your activity level will gradually be increased, and a physiotherapist will demonstrate how to exercise your new knee, increasing its range of motion and building up the strength of the muscles around it. You will be given an exercise programme for the weeks following the procedure, as well as instructions on wound care and diet.
Robotic assisted Knee Replacement comes with the same risk as traditional Knee replacement. The risks include Infection, Clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis), Embolus, Stiffness, Persistent pain, incomplete relief of symptoms following surgery, Vessel or Nerve damage, re-operation/revision, medical, anaesthetic and mortality risks. As a surgical team, we make every effort to minimise these risks. This will include giving antibiotics before and after surgery, Injection/Tablet and use of surgical stockings to reduce the risk of clots and thorough pre and post-operative assessment and care.