Imagine a robot being used to perform two of the most common surgeries known to improve mobility.
While this isn’t the first ever, the Netcare Pretoria East hospital is breaking ground by being the first in Pretoria to use the state of the art robotic surgical system, known as the Mako robotics, to perform hip and knee replacements.
WHAT IS MAKO THE ROBOTIC SYSTEM
Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Wian van der Merwe explained that the Mako robotic system is designed to further improve surgical precision.
He said the technology assists the surgeon in the planning of the procedure beforehand and provides additional checks in real-time at each stage during the operation.
“Based on a CT scan of the patient’s knee, the system’s sophisticated software develops a three-dimensional digital map of the knee.
“It further calculates the optimal implant size, placement and alignment of the prosthetic knee joint to fit the patient’s specific anatomy. This data is then translated into a preoperative surgical plan,” Dr Van der Merwe said.
The system combines three key components into one platform for more predictable and personalised orthopaedic procedures, these being:
- 3D CT scan based planning,
- AccuStop technology
- Insightful data analytics.
ROBOT CANNOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT SURGEON
The robotic system offers an extra level of precision, adding to the surgeon’s own technique and experience.
The robot cannot do anything without the surgeon.
“Rather, it helps keep the surgeon within the optimal dimensions to match the patient’s individual anatomy through the defined surgical plan.”
“On the day of the procedure, the digital 3D map of the knee is carefully aligned to the patient’s actual knee in theatre, and the surgical plan is validated. The dimensions needed for the procedure are set, and at these boundaries cutting automatically stops, serving as an additional safeguard to preserve the surrounding soft tissues and healthy bone. Dr Van der Merwe says.
He said the resections achieved are extremely accurate to the surgical plan, being within a fraction of a millimetre.
As the surgeon guides the robotic arm system, it provides detailed visual, auditory, and tactile feedback.
WHY ACCURACY IS IMPORTANT IN THE PROCEDURE
The stability of the knee joint, as well as the range of motion and comfort a person enjoys after a knee or hip replacement, can be greatly influenced by the accuracy of the fit of the prosthetic joint for the specific patient.
“In addition, where there is minimal interference with the surrounding soft tissues, the post-operative recovery can often be quicker.
“This technological advance is a further tool we can use to help deliver advantages such as these for our patients,” Dr Van der Merwe said.
Van Der Merwe along with his colleague Dr Tiaan Stoffberg completed comprehensive training in Instanbul, Turkey with the new SmartRobotics surgical system, making them the first two surgeons to be able to perform such surgeries with robotics.
The hospital is the fourth in the Netcare Group where robotic assist knee and hip replacement surgery is available.
Other hospitals within the group are Netcare Linksfield, Netcare Pinehaven and Netcare Blaauwberg hospitals.
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