Robot revolution for knee replacement patients

Surgeons performing knee replacements at the South West London Orthopaedic Centre have a new cutting edge assistant in the operating theatre – a robotics-assisted surgical system called NAVIO that helps improve accuracy during surgery.

The NAVIO surgical system (which is a hand held tool attached to a computer) uses infrared signals to produce a detailed computer model of the patient’s knee before and during the procedure. The software also helps the surgical team to work out how the knee will move after surgery, and gives real time feedback on alignment and positioning of the implants. The system can also show the surgeon a 3D image of how much bone needs to be removed before the implant is put in and improves the overall accuracy of the position.1

Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles, who was given the chance to trial the new tool on a prosthetic femur bone, said: “The NAVIO surgical system is a fantastic piece of equipment and will have huge benefits for our patients. It will assist our surgeons with further improving the accuracy of placement of knee replacements, with the aim of improving their recovery. In fact, with NAVIO, we expect that patients who do not have any complications or other health conditions should be well enough to go home the day after their surgery.”

“Nationally, 20% of patients are dissatisfied following their knee replacement surgery, which can often be attributed to the alignment of the replacement joint. Our SWLEOC surgeons and the theatre teams are some of the best in the world, but our new NAVIO will make this process even better, and every new knee joint will be aligned to each individual.”

Mr Feroz Dinah, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at SWLEOC, who has been leading the introduction of the NAVIO robot to the teams, said: “This is an exciting development for us. The surgeon still does the operation, but the robotic-assisted technology is a reliable way of getting the cuts to the bone exactly to where the surgeon intends. Using infra-red tracking technology, the computer creates a virtual 3-D model of the patient’s knee on the computer screen in front of the surgeon. Although the operation takes a bit longer initially as we get used to the system, early experience has shown that some patients are able to go home the following day due to reduced pain and swelling. This is a team effort, with everyone from pre-op assessment to theatre and recovery staff, as well as physiotherapy playing essential parts in this improved patient experience.”

Professor Deiary Kader, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Deputy Medical Director at SWLEOC, said: “Even after performing more than 1,500 knee replacements, this technology is helping me to learn more about joint replacement. For the first time in my career there is an objective tool that can give me live feedback on my surgical skills. We are therefore in the process of setting up few research projects with the help of another world-renowned SWLEOC surgeon Mr Ajeya Adhikari (the current President of the British Society for Computer Aided Orthopaedic Surgery and the first surgeon to use Robotics in Orthopaedic Surgery in the UK) and our research fellows at the academic unit.”​