Since the first robotic joint replacement was performed in 1992, the technology has rapidly evolved, achieving ever greater accuracy and precision. Now a major UK study will compare robotic knee replacement benefits to unaided or traditional joint replacement surgery.
Over 100,000 knee replacement procedures are performed every year in the UK and more and more surgeons are offering robotic-assisted surgery, believing it offers patients a better outcome. There have been numerous clinical studies performed, but the first UK trial has been commissioned to determine which approach is best.
Robotic knee replacement vs traditional joint surgery
The RACER (Robotic Arthroplasty: Clinical and Cost Effectiveness Randomised) controlled trial will be jointly run between University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research partner of the NHS, is funding the trial and the company that makes the robot, Stryker, will be supporting the study with costs to ensure hospitals do not have to pay extra to take part.
Assessing the benefits of robotic knee surgery
Mr Jonathan Webb now only offers MAKO robotic knee replacement for both full and partial procedures.
“The fundamentals of knee replacement surgery are predicting any potential issues with each individual patient, judging the best positioning of the knee replacement components into the knee to ensure the knee is balanced and therefore feels as normal as possible, and finally making the necessary cuts to the bone to ensure that the above criteria are met,” Jonathan explains.
“The robotic system helps with all three of these aspects. The computer analysis can predict before you start making any cuts, whether an adjustment in the size of the component or a particular aspect of its positioning, will have to be made based on the predicted motion of the knee. In essence, this can save having made even one preliminary cut which in hindsight would have been better positioned differently.
“The system then gives you greater feedback about identifying the best positioning of the replacement for each individual patient’s bone and soft tissue envelope. Finally, the precision with which the cuts are made and the safety features inherent in the system which make it impossible to cut vital structures around the knee, are far superior to what is possible using manual techniques.”
The RACER study will be inviting patients to take part from six NHS hospitals across England and Scotland over the coming months, with an equal number of participants in each treatment group. Post-surgery, patients will be asked about their ability to perform daily activities and their quality of life.
Jonathan believes this is the best indication of a successful outcome: “Patient-reported outcome measures are now the gold standard for assessing the success or failure of knee replacement surgery. Given the very low failure rate, revision surgery is a poor tool. So, the comfort functional range of movement and improved activity profile of a patient is the best measure.”
If you have more questions about robotic knee replacement benefits, get in touch to arrange a consultation. Mr Jonathan Webb offers MAKO replacements at both his Bristol and London clinics. Call 020 3195 2443 to arrange a consultation at the London clinic and 0117 906 4883 to book an appointment at the Bristol clinic. To find out more information about the surgery, visit our website.