One of the first questions patients with arthritis ask about Mako robotic arm-assisted joint replacement surgery is “yes, but what difference will it make to me?”
It’s a fair question. After all, state-of-the-art technology in the operating theatre may be exciting to an orthopaedic surgeon but why should patients care?
To mark Arthritis Awareness Week we’ll be looking at Mako technology from the patient’s point of view and answering some of the questions they most often ask, starting with this one…
What difference will Mako robotic arm assisted surgery make to me?
There are lots of different ways that you will benefit from having Mako robotic arm-assisted joint replacement surgery.
The first and most important thing to say is that the technology complements but doesn’t replace the skill of the orthopaedic surgeon. You will not be operated on by a robot but, instead, robotic technology will be used to help the surgeon to operate with greater accuracy and precision than ever before. The robotic arm moves with fluidity and control, enabling the surgeon to see a real-time feed in three different dimensions on the screen in front of him.
The technology is initially used prior to surgery, to generate an exact 3D model of the affected joint – either your hip or your knee – and to create a personalised pre-operative plan. The benefit of this is that it enables the surgeon to position your implant with absolute accuracy, which can then be fine tuned at the time of your surgery, depending on the real-time feedback process. This planning and fine tuning adjustment is important because even fractional inaccuracies can lead to the implant wearing faster than it should, or becoming loose or to ligaments wearing against the implant because the positioning is slightly different to your original joint anatomy.
Patients who undergo Mako-assisted surgery have higher satisfaction scores, according to validated Patient Reported Outcome Mesaures (PROMs). Six months after surgery they report lower pain levels than patients who underwent conventional surgery.
Because a detailed pre-operative plan is created, patients spend less time on the operating table so they tend to recover quicker. Mako technology tends to allow less invasive surgery than conventional surgery, which contributes to faster recovery rates.
How does Mako robotic arm assisted technology help to produce more predictable outcomes?
Before the operation even takes place it gives the surgeon detailed information about your unique anatomy. This enables them to pre-plan the surgical procedure with absolute precision.
During surgery the robotic arm guides the surgeon to stay within the boundaries that were set during the pre-operative plan, although they can make minor adjustments if they need to. The prosthetic implant is then precisely positioned and fixed in place.
Mr Carrothers has put the smile back on my face. I first saw Mr Carrothers in January 2019 after several years of limping and pain. He straight away filled me with confidence, he went through my options with me. I chose to have a MAKO Medial Uni knee replacement which is performed with the assistance of a robot. Post op I stopped using my crutches 5 days after the operation I could not believe how fast I improved 4 weeks on and I have returned to work every one can not believe how well I am doing. I would fully recommend robotic surgery. Thank you to Mr Carrothers for giving me my life back.
Why is Mako beneficial if I need future surgery?
Prosthetic implants generally only last a limited number of years – normally 15 to 25, before their bearing surfaces wear out. After that time you may require revision joint replacement surgery which means replacing the worn out bearing surfaces or sometimes the whole implant with a new one. Success rates are affected by the amount of healthy bone and tissue that remains following the original joint replacement surgery.
Mako technology assists with this as it guides the surgeon to remove only diseased tissue and bone, leaving all healthy bone and tissue intact. Damaged bone is replaced and ligaments are re-tensioned, leaving healthy areas untouched.
Who can have Mako surgery?
Mako robotic arm-assisted joint replacement surgery is suitable for patients with severe degenerative joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis and hip dysplasia.