Scottish Rugby open country's first hip and knee replacement robot

14 August 2017

Scottish Rugby Union team doctor, James Robson joined Spire Murrayfield’s surgical team for the official opening of the state of the art MAKO surgical robot.

The robot means surgeons at Spire Murrayfield Hospital can customise operations to suit individual patients with the use of a personalised implant.

The innovative technology aims to speed up the recovery process as well as reduce pain and the time spent in hospital. The pre-surgery preparation and alterations throughout the operation means patients could, in the future, go home on the same day as surgery.  

Mr Phil Simpson, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Spire Murrayfield, said: “Traditionally knee replacements are done based upon plain x-rays. Different implants sizes are used and decisions are often made during surgery based on the surgeons experience and feel, but not necessarily on exact measurements. With robot assisted surgery we go a step further. Prior to surgery, the patient has a CT scan of their lower limb, this scan is then reformatted in 3D. The best placing and size of implant are then worked out in 3D. This is a significant breakthrough for knee and hip surgery. Not only does the introduction of MAKO robotics mean I can personalise every operation to suit each patient, it also allows me to plan pre-operatively and make alterations mid-operation that just couldn’t be made using traditional surgical methods.”

The surgeon, who trained in Edinburgh, Europe and Australia, believes using the robot could dramatically reduce the number of full knee replacements needed. Instead, more patients will be able to undergo partial knee replacements which are more difficult to perform. 

He added: “Robotic assisted surgery allows me to do the surgery less invasively, with less soft tissue dissection and improved bone preservation 100% of the time. Robotic assisted surgery is only available at Spire Murrayfield Hospital*. I feel very privileged to be one of the first surgeons to use this type of technology.”

“The clinical results in terms of range of movement, pain relief and improvement of function have been excellent. The current capabilities of this technology are astounding and the future possibilities are unparalleled.”

A partial knee replacement relieves pain caused by degeneration as a result of osteoarthritis that has not yet progressed to all three compartments of the joint. With the Stryker MAKO robot, a 3D scan of the injured area is matched to an implant of the exact dimensions required for the patient in question.

James Robson, Scottish Rugby team doctor said, “We’re delighted that our healthcare partner, Spire Edinburgh Hospitals genuinely offer their patients, including Scotland Rugby team, some of the most advanced treatments available in the UK. It means I always have confidence that the team will receive the highest standard of care and I believe the MAKO robot is a significant breakthrough for knee and hip surgery. I believe that the introduction of MAKO robotic can mean a truly personalised operation to suit each patient – potentially allowing for quicker, smoother recovery, less post-operative pain and a significantly faster return to normal activities.”

Mr Ken Hay, hospital director at the Spire Murrayfield on Corstorphine Road, said: “We are proud to be the first private hospital in Scotland to use this innovative technology. It is part of our continuing commitment to providing our community and the people of Scotland with outstanding healthcare services."


*Spire Murrayfield Hospital is the only hospital in Scotland which offers robotic assisted surgery. 


Event Booking Form


Marketing Information

Spire would like to provide you with marketing information about products and services offered by Spire and by selected third-party partners. If you do not consent for us to process your personal data for marketing activities, we will still be able to contact you about your enquiry.

We may contact you by email, SMS or phone about your enquiry. If we try to contact you by phone (mobile and/or landline) and you are not available, we may leave you a voicemail message. We may also use your details to contact you about patient surveys we use for improving our service or monitoring outcomes, which are not a form of marketing.