Your knee is the largest joint in your body and is vital for all kinds of routine activities, from sitting to going upstairs. Knee pain can have a number of different causes but a common one is osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative condition which leads to worsening pain due to the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint. As many as one in 10 people over the age of 60 will develop osteoarthritis.
Cartilage is a tough slippery substance that covers the ends of the bones and stops them from rubbing together when you move. It also acts like a shock absorber, cushioning the bones as you use your knee joint. As the cartilage begins to wear away the bones can no longer slide smoothly against each other and they start to rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness. They may also develop bony spurs.
Other causes of knee pain include serious injury to the knee or rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition that causes chemical changes in the joint lining or synovial fluid which lubricates the joints.
What is a total knee replacement?
If your knee joint becomes very damaged or the pain is severe, you may be offered a total knee replacement. This is a surgical procedure to remove the damaged knee joint and replace it with a prosthetic implant. In some cases, you may be offered a partial rather than a total knee replacement. The knee joint is made up of three different separate compartments – the medial, lateral and patellofemoral. In some patients only one compartment is affected by osteoarthritis (normally the medial compartment) so the other compartments are left intact. In a total knee replacement, both medial and lateral compartments are removed and replaced with an artificial joint (with the addition of the patellofemoral compartment when suitable and needed).
Who is suitable for total knee replacement?
You will only be offered a total knee replacement if you are experiencing severe knee pain and stiffness and if more conservative treatment options – such as bracing, exercise and medication – are no longer providing sufficient relief. This is because a knee replacement is a surgical procedure and, while it is now routine for people with severe knee pain, all surgery carries a potential risk of complications.
What is Mako robotic arm assisted total knee replacement?
A total knee replacement involves removing the diseased or damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial joint made from metal alloys and high grade plastics. It is a highly skilled procedure performed by experienced orthopaedic surgeons. The results are often life-changing, enabling patients to live their lives fully again free from pain and stiffness. However, some surgeons – like Andrew Carrothers – are now using Mako robotic arm technology to support joint replacement surgery and improve outcomes still further for their patients.
This highly advanced technology supports, but does not replace, the skill of the orthopaedic surgeon. The Mako system includes specialist software that the surgeon uses to pre-plan your surgical procedure beforehand. A CT scan of your knee joint is taken prior to surgery and the system uses this to generate a 3D virtual model of the unique anatomy of your knee which is then used to create a personalised pre-operative plan.
During the surgery itself, the Mako robotic arm assists the surgeon to perform the procedure in line with your personalised plan. For example, when the surgeon prepares the bone for the implant, they use the robotic arm to guide them and stay within the planned boundaries so that only diseased or damaged bone is removed. The surgeon can make adjustments to the plan if they need to, based on their skill and expertise.
As with conventional surgery, you will be offered support to rehabilitate fully from your surgeon, nurses and a physiotherapist to ensure you gain full use of your new knee joint.
What are the benefits of Mako robotic arm assisted total knee replacement?
There are a number of benefits to Mako robotic arm assisted surgery. Implants are positioned with greater accuracy and individually optimised to match the patient’s unique anatomy. The result is greater freedom from pain which might otherwise result if there is a mismatch. The system maps the patient’s natural joint movement patterns, helping to minimise excessive stress on soft tissues and ligaments. Rehabilitation from surgery tends to be quicker and the risk of complications lower. There is also less chance of implant failure.
If you are due to undergo a total knee replacement, talk to us about the advantages of Mako robotic arm assisted surgery.
Robotic arm assisted joint replacement | Cambridge
Whether you have chronic pain due to an injury, or have developed a condition such as osteoarthritis, there are options available to you to get back to optimum health. Our specialist consultant orthopaedic surgeons treat a wide range of orthopaedic conditions, including arthritis, trauma, limb deformity and sports injuries. We also offer Mako robotic arm assisted surgery to patients that are suitable.
Our consultation fees are clearly presented here.
For your convenience, we offer appointments at both Nuffield Hospital Cambridge and Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.