A partial knee replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the damaged compartment of your knee with a prosthetic implant. A new system of robotic-arm technology is helping orthopaedic surgeons to perform this type of surgery with greater accuracy than ever before. We are one of a small group of orthopaedic surgeons to use the Mako system for partial knee replacement surgery. Here we explain what it is, what it does and why we’ve invested in this state-of-the-art technology…
What is a partial knee replacement?
First things first, what is a partial knee replacement and how does it differ from a total knee replacement?
The knee comprises three separate compartments – the medial compartment (the inside of the knee), the lateral compartment (the outside of the knee) and the patellofemoral compartment (the front of the knee). In some people with osteoarthritis, only one compartment is affected, normally the medial compartment or, less commonly, the lateral compartment.
If this is the case, a partial knee replacement may be possible rather than a total knee replacement. The benefit of this is that more of the structure of the knee is preserved (including anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments) which typically means fewer complications, less blood loss and faster recovery of movement.
Mako robotic-arm assisted technology can be used to assist with both total and partial knee replacement surgery. In this blog we are focusing on partial knee replacement.
What is Mako robotic arm assisted surgery?
Mako is a system of robotic-arm technology that is used both in the operating theatre to support the surgical team and beforehand to plan the partial knee replacement, based on the patient’s unique joint structure. It is important to emphasise that robotic technology does not replace the skill of the orthopaedic surgeon but, rather, it complements and enhances it. Mako is used to plan and execute the procedure with pinpoint precision.
Mako is acknowledged as a game-changer in joint replacement surgery. Here’s how it works.
Prior to surgery
Partial knee replacement surgery is generally offered to patients with advanced osteoarthritis of the knee, where the condition affects only one compartment of the knee joint yet still causes severe pain and a loss of knee mobility and function.
Prior to partial knee replacement surgery:
- You will need a CT scan of the knee joint.
- This information is uploaded into the Mako system software to create a 3D image.
- This provides the surgeon with vital information about your unique anatomy, to assist during the surgery.
- It enables them to undertake important planning of the joint replacement procedure to ensure it will be performed with absolute precision.
During partial knee replacement surgery:
- The pre-operative plan within the Mako software assists the surgeon to stay within the defined boundaries.
- The Mako robotic arm is guided by the surgeon, to cut away diseased bone and cartilage.
- The surgeon may make minor adjustments at their judgement, but always remaining within the pre-determined area.
After the joint has been correctly prepared, the prosthetic implant can then be accurately positioned and fixed in place. Issues, such as ligaments wearing against the prosthetic implant, can be avoided in the future by ensuring a completely accurate fit in this way.
Benefits of Mako robotic-arm assisted knee replacements
Mako robotic-arm assisted technology has many benefits and is backed by research, including:
- Greater accuracy and more consistent, predictable results.
- Added comfort for patients and less damage to ligaments and soft tissues.
- Quicker recovery times as surgery time is often reduced. Also, the procedure is often less invasive compared to conventional surgery.
- Reduced pain – patients that completed post-surgery surveys six months following Mako treatment, reported lower pain scores than patients who had conventional surgery.
- Higher patient satisfaction scores have been reported by Mako patients.
- Preservation of as much healthy bone and tissue as possible meaning that if in the future, a revision knee replacement is needed, the procedure stands more chance of being successful.
As with any surgical procedure, there are also risks. Mako robotic arm-assisted partial knee replacement surgery carries the same level of risk as conventional knee replacement surgery. However, less time spent during surgery generally means reduced risk and quicker recovery time.
The combination of surgical expertise and Mako precision technology helps achieve unparalleled results in partial joint replacement surgery.
Of course, we are happy to answer any questions too, if you contact us via phone or email to arrange an initial appointment.