Finally! Robotic assistance during total hip replacement surgery in Newcastle

Robotic assistance for surgery is a relatively new technology for assisting surgeons achieve increased accuracy in complex surgical procedures. Robotic assisted surgery for artificial joint replacement is available in Australia in a limited number of hospitals.

The first robotic assisted joint replacement in Australia was a partial knee replacement done in Perth in 2015. The first use of robotic assisted hip replacement surgery in Australia was in Brisbane in April 2016.

The first robotic assisted hip and knee replacement surgeries in Newcastle were both performed in October 2016 by Dr Stuart MacKenzie.

Robotic assisted hip and knee replacement uses the Stryker Mako robotic arm. The Mako robot has been in use in the USA for nearly ten years and only recently become available outside the USA. One of the advantages of this is that it is being utilised with joint replacement components which have a proven track record of success.

This system uses a three-dimensional computer model of the joint to be replaced which is generated from a pre-operative CT scan. This allows to plan the optimum position of the joint replacement and then the robot assists the surgeon to prepare the bone and position the components of the hip or knee replacement accurately.

The use of robotic assistance allows the surgeon to position the hip or knee replacement more accurately than is possible using traditional methods.

Studies have shown that using traditional techniques for placing the components of a hip replacement results in the cup being out of what is considered the “safe zone” 30% of the time. The use of robotic assistance decreases this risk of poor orientation of the component by allowing for placement with accuracy of 1 millimetre and one degree of where the surgeon plans.

The introduction of robotic assisted surgery for hip and knee replacement is an exciting step into the future for the people of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. It places our region at the forefront of medical innovation with access to the latest surgical technology. 

(Image courtesy of Stryker)

1 Feb 2017

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