An innovative robotic arm called Mako is revolutionising total hip replacement surgery, leading to reduced pain and likely long-term better outcomes for patients.
Although not widely available as yet, for those practices like ours that have invested in and adopted the new robotic technology the results are outstanding and patients are delighted, even those who may initially have had some reservations about the idea of a robot assisting in their surgery.
Mako Robotic Assisted Surgery: How it works
Mako robotic-arm assisted surgery was developed by Stryker as a way of assisting surgeons to provide accurate, better-fit replacement implants for patients requiring joint replacements.
Orthopaedic surgeons receive specialist training to use Mako, which assists not only during the surgical procedure but also in the pre-operative planning phase before the patient enters the operating theatre.
Before Mako surgery
Mako technology is used to create a detailed 3D anatomical model of the patient’s joint in advance so the surgeon can pre-plan the procedure with complete precision before going into the operating theatre. The technology enables the surgeon to visualise how the implant will fit with the existing joint anatomy and make minor adjustments to ensure the best possible custom fit.
It provides much more detail than a conventional X-ray, helping the surgeon to see things that they wouldn’t be able to see normally so they can determine the optimum size, placement and positioning of the implant. Once the precise details have been finalised, the personalised surgical plan is programmed into the robot’s computer navigation systems to prepare for surgery.
Essentially, it is like having an accurate and highly detailed map to navigate the patient’s damaged joint. Stryker, which developed the technology, describes it as providing a “more predictable surgical experience” for joint replacement surgeons.
During Mako surgery
During surgery, the surgeon is in complete control of the robotic arm, which assists in preparing the bone and placing the implant with pinpoint precision. Studies show that patients experience less blood loss during surgery, as well as fewer hip dislocations and fewer discrepancies in leg length.
After Mako surgery
Not only does Mako technology assist surgeons to perform hip replacement surgery with greater precision but it also makes a significant difference to patients. They are generally able to leave hospital sooner and experience less post-operative pain, enabling them to get back on their feet quicker.
The need for pain-killers is reduced and experts are predicting that the increased precision of hip replacement surgery could mean that they last 20 to 30 years rather than the current 10 to 20-year lifespan.
This could mean fewer patients requiring revision hip replacements in the future. However, if future surgery is needed, the fact that MAKO initially helped to preserve more of the patient’s own bone structure is an important benefit.
Who is it suitable for?
Mako has been designed for patients with arthritis of the hip or after hip injury. It may be suitable for you if you have severe hip pain or stiffness caused by a degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis.
If you have tried less invasive treatments, such as pain-relieving injections, but these are no longer providing adequate pain relief you may be able to have a Mako robotic-arm assisted hip replacement. Contact us for more details.