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Edinburgh hospital first in Scotland to introduce widespread use of ‘robot technology’

Posted: 5th June 2017

CT knee scanAn Edinburgh hospital has become the first in Scotland to introduce widespread use of ‘robot technology’ that will transform the way hip and knee replacement operations are carried out.

The robot, which costs almost £1m, will allow surgeons to carry out ‘tailor-made’ hip and knee replacement surgery at Spire Murrayfield Hospital.

Surgeons have predicted that the Stryker Mako Robotic Arm will improve patient outcomes – reducing the time spent in hospital while speeding up overall recovery times.

Mr James Patton, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Spire Murrayfield, said: “This really moves us right to the cutting edge of knee and hip surgery. Not only does this mean I can personalise every operation to suit each patient – it also allows me to make alterations mid-operation that just couldn’t be made using previous surgical methods.”

Mr Patton, who has trained on the Stryker Mako in both Australia and Germany, said the robot would have a major effect on partial knee replacements which he predicts could reduce dramatically the amount of total replacements needed.

“Strangely enough, a partial replacement requires a lot more precision and is a technically more difficult operation to perform so, in many cases, it is decided that the patient will actually get a better outcome from a full replacement,” he said.

A partial knee replacement is a treatment option designed to relieve the pain caused by joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis that has not yet progressed to all three compartments of the knee.

With the Stryker Mako robot a 3D image of the injured part of the knee is taken and matched to an implant of the exact dimensions needed for that particular patient.

“But a perfectly-constructed implant needs to be perfectly placed if it is going to have the best effects,” explained Mr Patton. “It is here where the robot technology comes into its own. The cuts made by the robot to remove the damaged section are much more accurate and precise than those made manually even by the most skilled surgeons.

“We will be creating an exact imprint for the exactly-measured implant to go. Even if minor adjustments to alignment and positioning need to be made during the operation the robot allows the surgeon to do that.”

It is also thought that the robot could mean patients receiving partial replacement surgery could leave hospital on the same day as they have the operation.

Mr Patton added, “This is a technology I would be happy to have myself, whereas traditional knee replacement is something I’d think very had about.”

Mr Ken Hay, Hospital Director at the Spire Murrayfield on Corstorphine Road, said: “We are proud to be the first private hospital in Scotland to use this innovative technology. It is part of our continuing commitment to providing our community and the people of Scotland with outstanding healthcare services.”

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