Robotic Hip Surgery
Hip surgeries are among the most challenging surgeries today and precision is essential. Total hip replacement surgery is one of the most complicated, as various bones are removed and replaced with metal and plastic hardware. The placement of the prosthetics, precision of the incisions, and removal of tissue and bone are difficult and must be done carefully and mindfully. Sometimes one minor incision can make a huge difference in a patient’s recovery. More modern clinics are now including the use of a robotic arm to make robotic hip surgery as accurate as possible.
Why Robotic Hip Surgery?
Every day medicine advances more and more, and if you can get a more accurate and overall higher chance of success, why not take it? Robotic hip surgery is new and innovative, and it may help achieve optimal joint alignment. One of the biggest problems patients see after a total hip replacement is misalignment of the prosthetics. Even a tiny chance of improving that risk is worth it! This is why our team of doctors have worked to learn how to use this assistive technology, as it may be the difference that can help even just one patient succeed. Each person heals differently, and there is no way to tell what can happen in recovery, but having the ideal situation can only help.
What Does Robotic Hip Surgery Do Differently?
Some of the most important aspects of robotic hip surgery are that it makes the surgery itself more accurate, but it also means that the imaging beforehand will be more accurate as well. Some of the new machines include 3D imaging that will measure a patient’s inner bone structure and choose a more accurate sizing for their implant before an incision has even been made. This in and of itself may give a patient a better chance of healing. Smaller, more accurate incisions also leave less room for infection or tearing of stitches. Overall, the surgeries themselves aren’t much different, except that robotic hip surgery can make it more accurate.
Drawbacks of Robotic Hip Surgery
There are a few reasons why a patient may want to opt out of robotic hip surgery, the first of which being that it is relatively new. Some doctors have years of experience with hip surgeries, but things change with using robotic helps. Even the most experienced doctors can make mistakes, so it could make a difference to use a new technique or new equipment. Another concern is that robots can miscalculate. If a doctor chooses to follow the robot and the robot has miscalculated, this could lead to issues. Sometimes robotic surgeries also take longer than traditional surgeries. However, these drawbacks are minimal. Robotic surgeries are extremely safe and there are very few issues that arise from them.
Total Hip Replacement Process
When a person decides to get a total hip replacement assisted by robotics, it is a fairly simple process:
Scans and Planning
First, a CT scan or MRI is done to give an idea of the inner structure of the patient’s hip. This is then turned into a 3D scan, where the doctor can then use the robot to plan out the exact surgical approach. This is generally done shortly before the surgery so not too much will change between the plan forming and the actual surgery occurring.
Removal and Replacement
The patient is then anesthetized and one or several incisions are made to access the damaged tissue and bone. Then the doctor, either guided by robotics or by using robotic drills and scopes, cuts away damaged tissue and removes the upper part of the femur, called the femoral head. The surgeon then replaces these with medical grade plastic or metal prosthetics, and ensures that they fit together. There are many things that can make this more or less complicated, some of which being that the person’s legs should be the same length as before, that the tissues need to support the joint, there should not be any loose bodies or small pieces of bone left behind, etc.
Closing the Incision
The hip tissues are carefully reconstructed and the incision is closed with staples or stitches, and carefully bandaged. Most patients will recover briefly in the hospital and go home shortly afterwards.
Hip Surgery for Patients
Having hip surgery is always a big decision, but patients who opt for it as a long term solution are often very glad they took the risk. About 95% of patients who have hip surgery find long term relief from pain and other symptoms after recovery. Hopefully, this should one day be even higher with the use of robotic hip surgery!