In some types of arthritis of the knee, only the medial (inside) part of the joint is affected. In this situation it is possible to replace the damaged part of the knee (partial knee replacement) without resorting to a total knee replacement.
Spire Murrayfield is the first private hospital in Scotland to introduce advanced robotics during surgery.
In some types of arthritis of the knee, only the medial (inside) part of the joint is affected. In this situation it is possible to replace the damaged part of the knee without resorting to a total knee replacement.
Initially, arthritis can be treated with painkillers, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and, in the earlier stages, arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) but as the knee progressively wears the only long-term treatment is to replace the damaged part of the joint.
Anyone in need of a partial knee replacement is a potential candidate for the Mako robot-assisted procedure. If you have previously been turned away for a partial knee replacement, due to the complexity of surgery required, you may now be suitable for robot-assisted surgery. Please note: this surgery is not suitable for all types of partial knee surgery.
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Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
In addition to traditional unicompartmental (partial) knee surgery, seven consultants are fully trained in performing this procedure using the Mako robotic arm system. The team are proud to bring the technology to self-pay and insured patients in Scotland and further afield.
If you’d like a consultation, call us on 0131 316 2507. If you’re insured, call and advise your insurance company that you’ll be having a robot-assisted procedure, as you’ll need an authorisation code to book your appointment.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
Robot-assisted partial knee replacement surgery
Your consultant may advise that robot-assisted surgery would be the best approach for treating your knee condition. Before surgery, you would have a 3D CT scan of the knee which is loaded onto the Mako system allowing the robot to build a complete picture of the knee joint. A pre-operative plan is then devised, allowing the surgeon to select a suitable implant in advance.
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The surgery involves removing a very small thickness of damaged bone from the inside part of the knee. Much less bone is removed than in a total knee replacement and only from one side of the knee. The partial knee replacement fits inside this prepared space and is fixed to the bone with cement.
The operation takes about an hour and involves an 8cm incision on the medial (inner) side of the kneecap. This small incision does not involve cutting any muscle or tendons (as with a total knee replacement), thus enabling quicker recovery from surgery.
The unicompartmental knee replacement comes in three parts. The femoral component is made of metal, is curved and highly polished. The tibial component is made of the same metal and has a flat upper surface. A plastic component, which is curved on the top and flat on the underside, sits on the flat tibial surface and can slide backwards and forwards. This mimics the meniscal cartilage in the normal knee. The upper part of this plastic insert articulates with the femoral component. This type of knee replacement is called a meniscal bearing and has the advantage of sharing the load through the knee over a large surface area, which helps to reduce wear and hence make the knee replacement last longer.
How robot-assisted surgery differs from traditional partial knee replacement surgery
Using the information retrieved from the CT scan you will have before surgery and using special trackers, the robot can alter the position of the implant during surgery, which cannot be done using traditional methods. The cuts made by the robot to remove the damaged section of the knee are much more accurate than those made manually. The robotic arm guides and aids the surgeon with pinpoint accuracy, detecting healthy and diseased tissue, guiding the implant into the perfect position and enabling tailor-made operations for patients.
The day after the operation your exercise regime begins. With the aid of a physiotherapist you will get out of bed and begin to exercise your new knee replacement. With perseverance, you should be able to climb stairs by day 2 or 3 and go home the following day.
You will need to continue attending physiotherapy as an outpatient. For most people it will take around 4 weeks to be walking reasonably. After three months you should be able to walk well without pain, climb stairs (leading with your operated leg) and be capable of a range of movement with your new knee from 0 degrees to at least 120 degrees.
The aftercare for a robot-assisted unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement is similar to traditional knee replacement. Spire Murrayfield's physiotherapy team will spend time developing and demonstrating a bespoke recovery plan for your individual needs and your consultant will stay in regular contact until you are fully recovered.
Patients can expect to be discharged within 48 hours of surgery if they are comfortable and confident in continuing their recovery at home.
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The key benefits of robot-assisted surgery for this type of procedure are:
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
Spire Murrayfield is an approximate 20 minute drive from Edinburgh Airport or 10 minutes from Haymarket train station. Regular buses serve the area well. Spire Shawfair Park is located to the south east of the city centre close to the City Bypass and the Royal Infirmary at 10 Easter Shawfair, Edinburgh, EH22 1FE.
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