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News & Trends - Medical Technology

Surgeon logs milestone at largest robotic surgery hospital in Victoria

Health Industry Hub | July 29, 2022 |
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MedTech News: An orthopaedic surgeon has notched up a milestone, completing his 1000th robotic joint replacement operation.

Mr Andrew Tang was one of the first Epworth surgeons to use Stryker’s Mako robot in knee and hip replacement surgery, when it arrived at Epworth Richmond in early 2018.

Mr Tang’s 1000th Mako robotic surgical patient was an elderly woman who had arthritis in her knee and could barely walk.
The robotic technology enables precise surgical planning and implantation of the replacement joint.

Mr Tang said while it is pleasing to be able to help 1000 patients over the last five years, it was only possible with the support of a large team.

He said “An increasing number of these robotic surgeries are revision operations, where patients previously had a joint replacement using traditional surgery. Over the years, the joint has worn out and patients are opting to have it replaced in surgery using the robotic technology due to its many advantages.

Advances in robotics surgery to pave the way for wider access, says Professor Tony Costello

“The theatre team is extremely important. The robot must be prepared before each surgery, with specific planning for each patient. Once in theatre, there is a team involving the surgeon and assistant, anaesthetic staff, theatre technicians, nurses and the scrub team, all working together, to get the best possible outcome for the patient.”

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis compared radiological and functional outcomes of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) using either robotic assistance or conventional methods.

Robot-assisted TKA and UKA were associated with significantly better component angle alignment accuracy at the cost of significantly greater operation time. Robot-assisted UKA was found to have significantly better short-term functional outcomes compared with conventional UKA. However, robot-assisted TKA, did not exhibit significantly better short- and midterm subjective knee outcome scores compared with its conventional counterpart.

Additionally, robot-assisted TKA and UKA were associated with non-statistically significant improved range of motion (ROM) and lesser rates of revision. Robot-assisted total and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty led to better radiological outcomes, with no significant differences in mid- and long-term functional outcomes compared with conventional methods for the former. 

Mr Tang said the Mako robot was one of several different robots available to Epworth surgeons.

“Epworth has a history of making an investment in modern technology and robotics. All of the surgeons are grateful that Epworth had the vision to embrace robotic technology to bring us into the 21st century,” Mr Tang said.

Epworth Richmond is the largest robotic surgery hospital in Victoria. Epworth has developed its own robotic surgery training and credentialing program for orthopaedic surgeons, which is now used in other hospitals.


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