The knees are two of the most overworked load-bearing joints of the body, making them highly susceptible to wear and tear. Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis can reduce mobility and cause pain to such an extent that knee replacement surgery becomes necessary. Now, thanks to the development of robotic technology, this procedure can be performed with greater accuracy, fewer complications and less pain compared to what has been done in the past.
Knee replacement surgery, known in the medical profession as knee arthroplasty, is performed when the knee joint has degenerated to such an extent that it causes severe pain and/or affects mobility. In severe cases, a full knee replacement (total knee arthroplasty) may be required. In cases where the arthritis is restricted to one area of the knee joint, then a partial knee replacement (unicompartmental knee arthroplasty) may be sufficient.
Whenever possible, partial knee replacement is preferred as it results in less postoperative pain and increased durability of the prosthetic joint. As with many areas of the medical profession, partial knee replacement surgery has benefited from advances in technology. A recently developed technique using a robotic arm to assist partial knee surgery has resulted in even better results.
This technique, known as MAKOplasty, involves a robotic arm being utilized to improve the accuracy of bone preparation before the artificial joint is attached, which minimizes bone loss during the surgery and improves soft tissue balance for better functionality after the surgery.
Before the procedure, the system uses information from a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the patient’s knee to assist in accurate preoperative planning of exactly how much bone needs to be removed. During the procedure, the robotic arm uses a tactile guidance system (TGS) to provide interactive assistance to the surgeon in the form of accurate navigation. The system provides real time feedback through a stereotactic interface to ensure that only the bone identified during the planning phase is removed.
Research has shown that the accuracy and clinical outcomes of partial knee replacement surgery have proven to be better in robotic-arm assisted surgery than in manually-performed surgery in five key areas.
- Accurate Implant Placement - Robotic assisted partial knee replacement surgery results in more accurate implant placement compared to manually-performed partial knee replacement surgery.
- Less Postoperative Pain - Partly because less bone is removed and partly because the prosthetic components are placed more accurately, patients who undergo robotic assisted partial knee replacement surgery experience less postoperative pain than patients who undergo manually-performed partial knee replacement surgery.
- Shorter Hospital Stay - The improved accuracy of the robotic assisted procedure reduces postoperative complications and results in faster recovery times with shorter hospital stays required.
- Better Postoperative Functionality - The accurate bone removal that comes with robotic assisted partial knee replacement surgery means that more of the patient’s original bone is retained and this plays a major part in helping the prosthetic components feel more natural and improve functionality after the procedure.
- Long-term Durability - Accurate placement of the prosthetic components also reduces wear and tear, resulting in increased durability and longevity.
As people live longer lives than ever before, procedures like knee replacement surgery are becoming increasingly common. Thanks to the accuracy that comes with robotic assisted partial knee replacement surgery, this no longer needs to be the end of mobility.
To speak to one of our specialists about how robotic assisted partial knee surgery could help you, or to make an appointment for an examination, click on the links below.
Author : Sr. Gp. Capt. Dr. Chumroonkiet Leelasestaporn, orthopedic surgeon at the Joint Replacement Center of Bumrungrad International Hospital
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