Demystifying Myths about Robotic-Arm assisted Knee Replacement | Dr. Hemant Sharma
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Robotics has taken the world by storm. Although it has been medical field for over 3 decades, in the last few years it has become the talk of the town, predominantly in surgical space. From making significant contributions in India’s healthcare infrastructure to assisting healthcare professionals to provide advanced healthcare solutions, robotics is transforming lives of both surgeons and patients.

As per reports, the growth of India’s robotic-assisted surgery is expected to reach ₹2,600 crore by 2024 at a CAGR of 19.8%.  During the Covid-19 pandemic as well, robotics surgery proved beneficial in improving the patient care and quality of life. In the field of joint replacement, advanced robotic arm-assisted technology enabled patient’s faster recovery and early discharge – important at the time to limit virus transmission.

Myth 1: The robot independently performs the surgery; the surgeon just feeds in data.

No, this is not true. In a robotic-arm assisted knee replacement, the robotic arm only assists the surgeon to perform the surgery with precision. With the surgical instruments connected to the robotic arm, Mako technology allows surgeons to reproduce precise bone cuts and implant alignment for patients, every single time. Without the surgeon guiding the robotic-arm, it cannot either move or make decisions on its own.

Myth 2: All robotic technologies are the same.

Yes, there are various robotic technologies available in the market, however each technology is different from the other. It is important to know the clinical history of the technology before opting for robotics surgery. It can be ensured by checking FDA approval, clinical legacy and worldwide installs and surgeries performed with the technology.

Myth 3: Conventional surgery is better as surgeons can see better with their own eyes

In a traditional knee replacement, the surgeon relies on conventional tools and on the surgeon’s skill and expertise to estimate the alignment using specialized surgical instruments. The surgical planning is done right on the operating table. However, with robotic-arm assisted surgery the surgeon does this planning even before entering the OT with help of patient specific 3D CT-based virtual plan. It allows visualization of patient’s anatomy including osteophytes, cysts and bone defects, prior to surgery.

Having 3D capability and unique AccuStop haptics feature, robotic arm-assisted technology has allowed surgeons to know more and do more than they could earlier, paving way for precise surgery execution. It helps surgeons to create a virtual boundary which protects and reduces injuries to soft tissue, thereby reducing trauma to the patient and preserving more natural bone. Several studies indicate the better outcomes showcased by the technology for total and partial knee replacements, compared to conventional techniques.