Orthopaedic surgeons Dr Paul Rowe and Dr Yusuf Hassan performed the first two robotic knee replacement surgeries of its kind in the country this week at Victoria and Mitchells Plain District Hospital. This technology allowed the doctors to demonstrate and showcase the future of orthopaedic surgery in the Western Cape.
The benefit of this technology simplified the operation for the orthopaedic surgeons, and provided an accurate mapping of the implant area and the precise cutting zone of the patient’s knee while in theatre. This means that with the aid of robotics, it reduces the amount of errors made in a manual operation, less blood loss is experienced and it provides immediate electronic feedback on the success rate of the procedure.
The rehabilitation process is quicker, and within a day or two after surgery the patient will start showing signs of healing and movement with the guidance of our medical professionals. The robotic machine works in conjunction with the surgeon’s hand to provide an accurate assessment of the knee using a calibrated optical probe and creates a virtual model of the knee. The system works in conjunction with the surgeon and guides the doctor in selecting the implant size that best fits the patient’s anatomy before inserting the knee implant. The robotic procedure takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes in theatre before the knee implant is inserted.
“This revolutionary technology allows you to template the patient’s anatomy before making the bone cuts, and it allows you to decide where to precisely place the implants,” said Dr Hassan, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in knee implants at Mitchells Plain and Victoria Hospital. Dr Hassen gained insight and training to utilise the technology from a key opinion leader on Navio Robotics in France this year and brought back his knowledge to perform these groundbreaking procedures in our state hospitals.
“The robotic system is more accurate than a manual system, where after performing manual surgery one would have to wait and see the outcome of the surgery,” said Dr Paul Rowe, head of the Orthopaedics Department at Victoria Hospital. “The hope in the development of robotics is that it will be the next step for the future of orthopaedics, and we expect significant improvement because research is showing that the more accurately you place the implant, the longer the survival of the implant,” said Dr Rowe.
“The Western Cape Government Health continuously strive to lead the way with innovative surgical procedures and it is through partnerships with other healthcare organisations that we can provide better and improved healthcare for our patients,” said Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.Although robotic technology is seen and proven to be the future of orthopaedic surgery, feasibility research for future use of this machine is yet to be explored by the Department.