Surgeons at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital have demonstrated the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery for knee replacement, including increased accuracy, shorter recovery and reduced pain after the operation.
In a study involving over 100 patients who required total knee replacement due to advanced arthritis, individuals were randomly allocated either a standard knee replacement or robotic-assisted surgery.
The trial was the first of its kind and found that robotic-assisted surgery can reduce pain and potentially speed up recovery time, in addition to decreasing the requirement for ongoing pain relief. The results highlight the potential for expanding the use of robotic-assisted surgery in knee replacement operations across the NHS.
Freeman Hospital was the first NHS centre in the north east to adopt robotic-assisted knee and hip surgery, a decision based on extensive in-house research at the Newcastle Surgical Training Centre, run by Newcastle Hospitals.
Professor David Deehan, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Newcastle Hospitals and principal investigator for the trial said:
“We know that long term success of a knee replacement, and the best restoration of joint function, rely on extremely precise alignment of the implant within the knee.
“We believe that robotic-assisted surgery can enhance the ability of the surgeon to assess and optimise placement of the new joint during the operation.
“An additional positive impact of undertaking more procedures using robotic-assisted placement is reduced disruption to the surrounding soft tissue, making the surgery less painful.”
The requirement for the trial was identified through national information which highlighted overall satisfaction with the outcomes of total knee replacement surgery wasn’t always as positive as it could be, emphasising the need to consider what could be done differently to improve.
Newcastle patients are already benefiting from more robotic-assisted surgery, with this work forming part of a wider programme to speed up recovery time for patients and optimise positive outcomes from joint replacement at Freeman Hospital.