A handheld robotic device is helping surgeons at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) to map the inside of patients’ knees and accurately plan surgery before a single cut is made on the joint.
The NAVIO robotic-assisted surgical device is hoped to improve outcomes – including faster recoveries – for patients having partial knee replacements.
The system, which is in place at Colchester Hospital, allows surgeons to use computer software to accurately understand the patient’s limb alignment and calculate the exact size and orientation of the implant needed before the main part of the operation begins. A simulation can also be performed which shows the surgeon how the virtual knee replacement will perform throughout its range of motion.
The surgeon can then use the handheld device, known as a handheld robotic burr, to remove exactly the right amount of cartilage and bone to prepare an implant which is aligned bespoke to that patient.
It is hoped that the increased accuracy offered by the technology will mean ESNEFT’s surgeons can carry out more operations as partial knee replacements rather than replacing the entire joint, which could lead to a faster recovery, cost effectiveness and higher rates of satisfaction.
“Our ambition at ESNEFT is to offer the very best orthopaedic care in the country,” said Mr Tim Parratt, consultant orthopaedic surgeon. “As such, we are delighted that we are now able to carry out robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery.
“With a conventional knee replacement, you need to cut and shape the bone before testing with trials to see whether that construct is balanced, aligned and with a good range of motion, then deal with adjustments accordingly. Using this technology means you can check all these parameters in a virtual or simulated version first, and before the main part of surgery even begins.
“This outlay represents a great amount of ambition from our department and the Trust. There is a focus on innovation and technology at present and I feel that this device puts us and our patients at the forefront of cutting-edge surgical care.
“As well as possibly improving outcomes, we hope that this will make sure all of our patients have the best possible experience when receiving orthopaedic care at our hospitals.
“I’d really like to thank the innovation and finance teams at the Trust for all their hard work in making this type of technology a reality for the clinicians.”
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Mahbub Alam added: “We hope that this equipment will allow us to carry out more partial knee replacements, help people get home sooner and get them functioning more quickly too.”
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