22 January 2019
One of the first patients to experience a knee replacement operation using ‘robotic technology’ at Spire Little Aston Hospital has been amazed by the speed of his recovery.
“I was up and about in no time and within weeks I was walking two or three miles completely unaided. The whole experience has exceeded all my expectations,” said 62-year-old David Cairns.
David, who runs a building and maintenance company in the Sutton Coldfield area, had his knee replaced by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Ashvin Pimpalnerkar who used the Mako Robotic-assisted system to carry out the procedure.
“I suffer from osteo-arthritis and have had knee problems for well over 20 years. Unfortunately, a previous knee replacement I had – back in May 2015 – took a long time to heal and caused me a lot of pain.
“It really put me off having my other knee treated and I kept putting the operation off - even though I knew I would have to have it done at some stage,” said David.
After delaying treatment for as long as possible, David met with Mr Pimpalnerkar - who had no involvement with the previous knee operation - and was told about the advantages of the Mako system.
The Mako system uses CT scans to generate an exact model of the patient’s hip or knee. That information is then fed back through the robotic arm, allowing the surgeon to determine how much bone to remove and also to ensure accurate alignment, achieving optimum soft tissue balancing.
If the robotic tool is passed over a part of the knee that doesn’t need removing then the cutters automatically stop, not starting again until it reaches parts mapped out for removal. Once the bone is removed, the Mako then assists the surgeon as to where to place the implant to achieve the most accurate fit possible.
Mr Pimpalnerkar explained: “It allows me to consistently optimise implant placement which, in turn, will give the patient a more natural-feeling knee that will potentially have a longer lifespan than replacements fitted using conventional methods. It will also mean a quicker recovery time and much reduced post-operative pain.
“I am not saying that conventional joint surgery is a bad thing. I have carried out thousands of successful hip and knee replacements over the years.
“What I am saying is that robot-assisted surgery like this is possibly the future. This is one of the treatment pathways I will now be advising my patients to take. The best type of joint replacement is one that lets you forget you have actually got one and I really think Mako enables surgeons to meet that goal.”
As for David, he said: “My recovery has been excellent. I didn't experience anywhere near the (same) pain as I did after the previous operation. There was less swelling after the op and the scar is much neater.
“After my first knee replacement, I told everyone I would never have the other knee replaced. Now I am recommending anyone thinking of surgery to go for the Mako option. I really can’t stress enough how impressed I have been with the results.”
To find out more about robotic joint replacement surgery, check online or call one of our Treatment Advisors on 0121 580 7119.