Conventional knee joint replacement technique uses alignment rods to guide surgeon in the bone cuts. However, the outcome heavily depends on the surgeon’s experience and patient’s conditions like density of soft bones (osteoporosis) – leading to a less than ideal outcome. In computer-assisted and robotic surgery, the computer is like a GPS allowing the surgeon to be able to rehearse and adjust for the best outcome.
Currently, there are only two dedicated orthopaedic robotic systems for the replacement surgery.
This is a haptic robotic arm where the surgeon guides the arm during the surgery. The current software only allow for acetabular milling for hip replacement surgery and partial/unicondylar knee replacement surgery. The total knee replacement platform will be starting beta testing soon.
The Robodoc system is not a novel technique. More than 30,000 total knee replacement surgeries have been performed successfully. Dr Chin Pak Lin started the robotic knee program on 16 May 2012. To date, about 60 such surgeries have been successfully performed, audited and followed-up. This robotic arm is an active robot where the surgeon merely coaches the arm while it performs all the work. It is very different from the MAKOplasty platform as this is is an open platform where both unicondylar and total knee replacement surgeries can be performed.