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Answering your robotic knee replacement FAQs

answering your robotic knee replacement FAQs

Robotic knee replacement surgery is becoming increasingly popular, with even the National Institute for Heart Research (NIHR) recently funding a trial into its potential benefits for the NHS.

However, there are still misconceptions about precisely what this surgery entails. Here, leading Consultant Knee Surgeon, Mr Neil Hunt, answers the most frequently asked questions during consultations at his London, Leeds and York clinics.

What exactly does robotic knee surgery involve?

Prior to surgery, CT scans will be performed, and information on the patient’s unique anatomy will be fed into the software programme. This helps the surgeon plan the surgery exactly before the patient even reaches the operating table.

During surgery, Neil guides the Mako robotic arm to remove the affected areas of the joint while preserving as much healthy bone as possible. The system also then aids him in precisely positioning the prosthetic implant.

Does a robot perform the surgery?

All surgical decisions, such as the incision and placement of the implant, remain in the surgeon’s hands.

One factor in the eventual success of the procedure is the sizing and positioning of the implant, and clinical studies have indicated that robotic software delivers a greater degree of accuracy. This means improved joint stability and implant longevity, as well as greater patient satisfaction.

However, the other important factor is the surgeon’s skill and experience. Technological advances can potentially improve patient outcomes, but they are not a replacement for the surgeon’s expertise.

How safe is robotic surgery?

All surgery carries risks associated with the anaesthetic used, the incision and the manipulation of the soft tissues and bone; these are the same for robotic and conventional joint surgery. Neil will discuss these in full at your consultation.

However, clinical studies have indicated that Mako can help reduce certain risks as there is less tissue damage. 

Is a robotic knee replacement less painful than conventional surgery?

The comprehensive pre-planning and greater accuracy typically mean smaller incisions and less trauma to the surrounding bone and tissue, so patients should experience less pain and faster recovery after robotic knee replacement.

In a 2022 clinical study, Mako patients surveyed after six months reported lower pain scores than those who received a conventional joint replacement.

Am I a suitable candidate for robotic knee replacement?

Surgery is considered if conservative, non-surgical methods fail to address the pain and loss of mobility synonymous with wear-and-tear osteoarthritis. If you are a good candidate for traditional knee replacement, you will be suitable for robotic surgery.

During your consultation, Mr Neil Hunt will carefully explain the potential benefits and complications so you’re fully informed before deciding to proceed. Contact the hospital at which you would like to be seen or call Charissa Sullivan on 07724 909 414  to arrange an appointment to discuss robotic surgery and if you are suitable.