Giving Surgery A Helping Hand
A surgeon may mention that an upcoming joint surgery will be robot-assisted. At first glance, the device looks like an arm outside of a sci-fi movie attached to a roll-away cart. Don’t get deterred. The robotic arm is one of the most valuable tools in an orthopedic surgeon’s toolkit. Facilities that invest in robotic-assisted surgery are a cut above other facilities in the space. Not only do the surgeons benefit, but so will the patients.
All about joint surgery
With robotic joint surgery, the surgeon uses a mechanical tool to guide the surgery. Total or partial joint surgery means the surgeon will remove cartilage and even parts of the bone. From there, components made of metal and plastic are installed to reduce pain and improve movement. Surgeon’s perform surgeries in one of 2 ways:
- Open surgery uses large incisions to give the surgeon a full view of the joint.
- Minimally invasive surgery uses arthroscopy, which means incisions the size of a buttonhole.
Robotic surgery takes minimally invasive surgery to the next level. The mechanical arm guides the surgeon’s arm to install the prosthetics effectively.
The robotic arm is connected to an interface that maps out a 3D image of the new replacement, often from CT scan data. The mapping of the joint happens before the surgery using a series of sensors. When the surgeon performs the surgery, the robotic arm positions the implants in the correct spots with fantastic accuracy. This method significantly reduces human error. An implant outfitted even less than an inch can delay recovery. The robotic arm acts as an extension of the surgeon. A comparative study showed that surgeons with less experience had more precision with robotic-assisted joint surgery.
Minimally invasive joint surgery usually has success rates well over 90%. However, robotic surgery may take these figures up a notch. Mechanical implants can last well beyond the expected 10-15-year lifespan of joint replacements. Patients also have high satisfaction rates and a reduced chance of revision surgery. Using the robotic arm improves the success rate of the doctor and patient.
With an accurate installation using minimally invasive techniques, the recovery time should decrease. There will be less pain in the first weeks following surgery. Less blood loss and smaller incisions also mean faster healing. There is also less tissue and bone damage. On average, patients can walk faster and resume daily activities earlier than open surgery or total knee arthroscopy.
Enjoy the robotic advantage
A surgeon uses robotic arm surgery to benefit the patient. Specifically, the surgeon enjoys the improved accuracy and higher outcomes associated with robotic surgery. With the prosthetics already set, the robotic arm creates a replacement that feels natural. This leads to less post-operative pain. As a result, more and more surgical centers and hospitals are adopting robotic surgery. If a surgeon offers this procedure, don’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity.