Mr Matthew Bartlett BA FRCS(Orth)
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, London North West Hospitals NHS Trust
Navigation systems have been in use since 2005, but the new robotics element will mean greater accuracy, less invasive surgery and should lead to less hospital time for patients.
Robotics are already making a tangible difference to total knee replacements, according to Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Matthew Bartlett.
He says, improving surgeons’ ability to perform more accurate and less invasive surgeries can improve patient outcomes in the long run.
“What we hope is that this will make total knee replacements more consistent and reproducable across the board,” he said. That could, in time, lead to the NHS being able to offer implants that feel far more like a normal knee.
“The ultimate goal is for people to forget they’ve had a knee replacement. Hopefully, this technique will allow us to use implants with a greater functional range in the future.”
Increased accuracy to reduce recovery times
Increased accuracy is a key benefit of the new technique, with anecdotal evidence already pointing towards better patient outcomes.
Mr Bartlett stressed that it is early days, but he expects the improved leg alignment that comes with using the technology to have a positive knock-on effect for recovery times and long-term mobility.
Use of the robotic handpiece also means a less invasive experience for patients, reducing swelling and stiffness.
Traditional techniques would often cause substantial bleeding, leading to swelling after the operation. Mr Bartlett hopes this effect will be less prominent with the use of robotics.
Less radiation and less costly scans
Other similarly accurate systems use a CT scan for planning, which exposes patients to substantial doses of radiation. Avoiding this also means fewer hospital appointments for the patient and a more cost-effective solution for the NHS.
Time will prove how much patient outcomes can be improved by robotics, but Mr Bartlett says his patients are mobilising better in the short-term, which should lead to a brighter long-term outlook.