Is Recovery Time Faster For Robotic Knee Replacement?

A New Frontier For Knee Replacement

In the past, knee replacements happened through open surgery, consisting of 1 or 2 large incisions. As time progressed, doctors created minimally invasive techniques. Doctors can now replace the knee with buttonhole incisions using a high-powered, snake-like camera and other small tools. Minimally invasive surgery continues to be the gold standard. However, a few hospitals around the country have adopted robotic knee replacement. This innovative approach is the future of knee replacement and surgery at large. But is the recovery time any better than other surgeries?

Why would you replace your knee?

Surprisingly, more than 600,000 knee replacements happen every year. Because of the improvements in surgery, more and more people are opting for surgery at younger ages. But why would someone require knee surgery in the first place? Over time, the smooth cartilage in the knee wears away. This arthritic, diseased knee grinds together causing inflammation, pain, stiffness, and limit movement. For some, knee pain can be so bad that a replacement is necessary.

Surgery requires accuracy

Both open and minimally invasive surgery is done carefully by hand. The surgical process is twofold. First, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone spurs. Then, the exposed bone is fitted with metal and plastic components. These include a metal tibial tray, a plastic spacer, and a metal femoral head. For the parts to fit correctly, the surgeon must use precise estimations when shaving the bone. The result of the surgeon shaving off too much or too little cartilage and bone is delayed healing.

How robotic surgery changes the game

The medical field created robotic arm-assisted surgery to improve the accuracy of resurfacing and installing components. The concept originated from the robotic arms used in automotive manufacturing, which needs to be precise. Robotic surgery is performed with a device on wheels that has a long mechanical arm attached. At the end of the robotic arm are set tools and implants for the new knee hardware. The device combines infrared and 3D technology to get a scan of the knee beforehand. These images allow the surgeon to position and balance the implants with exceptional accuracy. From there, the robotic arm guides the surgeon to install the components of the knee.

Advantages of robotic surgery

Robotic surgery is not widely available, with only a few hospitals and ASCs around the country investing in these machines. However, the use of the device is growing in popularity and demand. Note, the robotic arm does not perform the surgery. Instead, this is a tool to enhance the accuracy and speed of the surgeon. With robotic arm surgery, surgery is more efficient, with lower long-term costs. Research shows there are also higher satisfaction rates among patients.

Does robotic surgery mean faster recovery?

A robotic-assisted arm makes the orthopedic surgeon’s job easier. Well, what about the patients? Is the recovery time faster? Of course, when compared to open surgery, the recovery time is much quicker. Open surgery requires a large incision which needs added time to heal and increases the chances of infections. Robotic surgery means minor incisions, which decreases recovery time. The thing is, minimally invasive surgery, or MIS, without robotics promises the same benefits. Robotic surgery even beats this recovery time. The precision means less pain, blood loss, and faster healing. Recovery can take as little as 2-4 weeks compared to the 8-12 weeks with MIS.

Get back on your feet with robotics

Robotic surgery is an innovative way to improve the accuracy of knee replacements. The device reduces the chances of human error, which can reduce recovery times. The recovery times with robotic surgery beat open surgery and minimally invasive surgery without robotics. Because of the speed of the procedure, patients also benefit from reduced costs and time in the hospital. Speak to a doctor about the possibility of having robotic surgery for knee replacement.


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