What is Computer-Assisted/Robotic Assisted Knee Replacement?
Computer-assisted or robotic assisted knee replacement is an alternative to the typical knee replacement surgery. In computer-assisted knee replacement surgery, the surgeon uses robotic arm technology to help them perform the total knee replacement surgery. By the end of this article, you will learn all about computer-assisted/robotic assisted knee replacement surgery, including the benefits, risks, what makes you an ideal candidate for this particular kind of surgery, and what the recovery process is like.
What Are The Benefits of Robotic Computer Assistance?
During robotic assistance knee replacement surgery, the surgeon uses technology to help them efficiently perform the surgery. Robotic assisted knee replacements have a few benefits that you should be aware of. As seen through the different naming convention, robotic assisted knee replacements are not the average knee replacement method. Therefore, they don’t have the exact same benefits as traditional knee replacement surgery.
Robotic computer assistance tends to be more precise than regular surgery, allowing for:
- Increased safety. By using computers and technology to assist them during surgery, the surgeon is less likely to injure the surrounding tissue.
- More accurate. If the knee implant is accurately positioned during surgery, the patient’s knee will look and feel more natural.
- Smaller incisions. When the surgery site has smaller incisions, that can definitely help the patient have a quicker recovery, shorter hospital stay, and less pain overall.
- Virtually perform the surgery before making an incision. The orthopedic surgeon uses the computer technology to look at the patient’s knee before making any cuts to the bone. This aspect is nice because the surgeon gets a really good look at what they are dealing with and what they need to do.
- Less risk. Computer-assisted total knee replacement surgery significantly lowers the risk of surgery and gives long term results. For instance, the surgery gives patients about 20–30 years of functionality.
What Are The Risks of Robotic Computer Assistance?
Like any kind of surgery, robotic computer-assisted surgery does come with its risks. Some risks include the following:
- Longer surgery. Surgery can run longer when it is a robotic assisted surgery. This can be riskier for the patient because a longer surgery requires the patient to be put under anesthesia for longer.
- Possible mechanical failure. When you add another variable into the equation, that increases the chance of risk or things that could possibly go wrong. That same philosophy can be applied to robotic assisted surgery because adding in this kind of technology just adds to the likelihood of something going wrong. For example, the camera, robotic arm, lens, or energy source could become faulty during surgery.
- Training errors. Like any new thing, surgeons need to learn how to use the technology. There needs to be a good and consistent training program to ensure that all surgeons know how to use the system and equipment.
Who Would Be The Ideal Candidate for A Robotic Knee Replacement?
Although most patients for total knee replacement surgery fall between the ages 50 and 80 years-old, that is not a solid or set age range. Each person has a different circumstance, meaning that they could be younger or older than the usual age range. Because total knee replacement is a major surgery, there is a possibility of things going wrong, no matter how major or minor the complication might be. That being said, it is important that the patient is healthy enough and capable of handling a total knee replacement surgery.
What Is The Recovery Like?
The recovery for robotic assisted knee replacement is pretty much the same as traditional knee replacement surgery. Although each person heals differently, this is the general overview on what recovery is like.
- Rehabilitation begins right when you wake up from surgery. Within the first 24 hours of surgery, the physical therapist will come and help you stand and walk with the assistance of walkers, crutches, or canes. The physical therapist will also show you how to get in and out of your bed and move around while using your walking assistance device.
- Typically, you will be discharged from the hospital 1–3 days after surgery. The time might vary depending on your situation and how well you are healing. At this point, you should feel slightly stronger and be taking less or lower doses of pain medication.
- As you recover, you will need to do physical therapy exercises in order to properly heal and regain mobility and flexibility in your knee.
- Ideally, you should start introducing higher impact activities in your life by the 3 month mark post-surgery. However, you know your body best so you don’t want to push yourself before you are ready.
Computer-Assisted/Robotic Assisted Knee Replacement at Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants
Total knee replacements are major surgeries. Although computer-assisted knee replacement is a very innovative way of getting knee replacement surgery, it does pose additional risks and things to be aware of versus regular or traditional knee replacement surgery. At Midwest Orthopaedic Consultants, we understand how frustrating it can be to not be able to do the same things you were able to do prior to your injury and surgery. Therefore, we are here to support you every step of the way. With our excellent team of surgeons and specialists, we will help you have a smooth and quick recovery.
If you suffer from an injured knee or are recovering from major surgery, feel free to contact us today so we can help treat your injury.