New studies evaluate the benefits of robotic knee replacement 

benefits of robotic knee replacement

The development of robotic knee replacement can be traced back to the early 2000s, and an increasing body of clinical research has been published to quantify its benefits. Recently, a study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting found that the use of robotic technology reduced the need for manipulation under anaesthesia (MUA) post-procedure.

MUA may be recommended after surgery when patients are unable to regain a good range of movement following surgery.

The study authors are based at the Hospital of Special Surgery, the world’s largest academic medical centre specialising in musculoskeletal health, and they analysed data from 21,893 knee replacement surgeries performed between April 2008 and December 2022. They found that the use of robotic surgery led to a significant decrease in the number of patients needing MUA; 2.7% of patients with robotic-assisted surgery and 3.7% of patients whose surgery was performed without this technology.

They concluded that more precise positioning of the new knee implant reduced the risk of post-surgery MUA. This benefit of robotic knee replacement technology is one of the many identified by clinical studies into Mako robotic total knee replacement since its introduction in 2016.

Greater accuracy and precision

The ability to preoperatively plan using the Mako technology can assist in implant selection. Robotic arm-assisted technology requires a preoperative CT scan, which is used to perform 3D templating. In a 2017 study, it was found that the software predicted component size precisely in 96% of femoral implants and in 89% of tibial baseplates. In comparison, studies using a 2D technique predicted the correct implant size in 43.6% to 68% of cases.

Implant survivorship

The longevity of an implant is also a factor in the success of a total knee replacement. In a special report from the Australian Orthopaedic Association, statistically lower revision rates for Mako robotic-assisted total knee arthroplasty over computer navigated total knee arthroplasty.

Functional outcome

Encouraging functional outcomes were found in a study published in 2021 that investigated functional recovery in terms of length of stay in hospital, return to work, and return to driving. All but two of the patients studied returned to driving at an average of 45 days and 90% returned to work, with 16% returning within three weeks.

An even more recent, large-scale study of over 10,000 patients evaluated hospital length of stay and found that the proportion discharged home was significantly higher for patients who underwent robotic-assisted total knee replacement than conventional surgery.

A UK-based trial demonstrated significantly early postoperative results for patients with less postoperative pain, less need for pain relief, less postoperative blood loss, less time to achieve a straight leg raise and less time to hospital discharge.

 

If you would like more advice on the potential benefits of robotic knee replacement, you can arrange a consultation with Mr Neil Hunt by making an appointment at one of his clinics or by calling Charissa Sullivan on 07724 909 414.