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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Robotic vs traditional knee replacement surgery

    Related Topic
    I am having a knee replacement. I need some information regarding robotic surgery compared to traditional surgery in regards to recovery time, accuracy etc.

    Who performs robotic knee surgery and where can I get it done?
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    Mr Rhys Clark

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Mr Clark is a consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in the latest hip and knee replacement surgical techniques. He also specialises in complex revision surgery, … View Profile

    Robotic-assisted surgery is a relatively new way of performing a knee replacement. Robotic-assisted surgery and traditional knee replacement surgery use the same implants i.e you end up with the same prosthesis however the way the operation is performed is slightly different. 

    Personally I now use Robotic-assisted surgery to perform knee replacements.  My patients undergo extra CT scans (CAT scans) and this is loaded into the computer which allows me to virtually place the implants on the patient's bones prior to the patients even going to sleep. This means I can accurately plan what size and where the implants are going to sit for that particular patient. 

    During the operation, the patient's knee is calibrated to the robot and I assess the knee to see how it move with the knee replacement prior to any boney cuts, I can then make some slight adjustments if need be. When it comes time to cut the bone the robot holds my hand and will only allow me to cut where I have previously planned. If the saw moves slightly out of plain then it will automatically stop cutting. This allows for accurate cuts and it means less damage to the surrounding soft tissue. 

    I find that when I perform a robotic-assisted knee replacement that the knee performs better and is more "balanced" than if I did a traditional knee replacement. I feel in my patients there is less soft tissue damage and a slightly smaller incision which results in less postoperatively pain and a quicker return to function.

    There are some disadvantages of a robotic-assisted knee replacement such that the operation takes slightly longer. 

    For me as a surgeon the more information and the more planning I can do prior to the patient going off to sleep the better this coupled with the robotic saw I feel gives my patients the best outcomes. 

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