A to Z Guide on Robotic Knee Joint Replacement Surgery

What happens in Robotic knee joint replacement surgery?

In Robotic Knee replacement surgery, the surgeon is assisted by a robotic arm in removing the damaged muscles and tissues of the joint and helps in replacing it with a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthetic. With the assistance of a robotic arm, it is possible to perform the joint replacement surgery with extreme precision. The surgeon can navigate the smallest area of the joint without causing undue damage to the surrounding tissues or excessive blood loss.

Before the surgery, a CT scan of the knee is taken and is uploaded to the NAVIO surgical software. Based on the scan, a 3D model of the knee is created while the surgeon plans the next step. All the stages of the procedure are pre-planned by the surgeon and are followed during the procedure. All of these happens over multiple visits to the doctor so that the entire plan is ready on the day of the surgery.

Is the surgery performed by a robot?

Not at all. The surgeon is completely in control during the procedure. While the robotic arm helps the surgeon in moving precisely according to the plan put in place by the surgeon, he can intervene and change the procedure anytime during the surgery if the need arises.

How long does it take for the surgeon to perform the knee joint replacement surgery?

The surgery time depends upon the joint that is being replaced. For example, the surgery time for hip replacement is different from the surgery time for knee replacement.A robotic knee joint replacement surgery takes around 1-2 hours.

What kind of care should be taken after the surgery?

After the surgery, the patient is shifted to a recovery ward where he is gradually assisted by the hospital care staff through physical therapy and exercises. The patient must follow the instructions and guidelines provided by the surgeon and the therapist to ensure a speedy recovery.

During the recovery period, it is equally important to check for signs of infection. These may be indicated by redness, swelling, fluids leaking from the site of incision and/or having a fever with chills. Contact your surgeon immediately if you find any of these symptoms after the surgery.

What is the recovery time for robotic knee replacement surgery?

The recovery time for each patient is different and largely depends on factors such as the type of joint that was replaced (knee, hip, etc.) age, medical history, activity level, lifestyle, the severity of the damage, etc. For example, a hip replacement may require around 2 to 6 months for the patient to resume normal activity whereas a knee replacement may take 3 to 9 months.

Complete recovery is said to be achieved when the soft tissues and the surgical wounds are healed, the joints have retained their movement and functions, and the patient feels comfortable getting back to his daily activities. The patient will also have to consult a physiotherapist for easing into his routine with exercises that help to build the joint muscles and speed up the recovery.

A robotic knee replacement surgery does reduce the recovery period as compared to traditional surgery and takes approximately about six weeks’ time for a complete recovery.

When can daily activities be resumed?

This again depends on the health history of the patient along with his age and the type of joint that was replaced. It usually takes about 12 weeks for the patient to return to his daily activities including low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, etc.

If the patient’s profession does not include standing too long and involves a desk job, the patient can resume working after the surgeon gives a go-ahead.

What is the difference between traditional knee replacement surgery and robotic knee replacement surgery?

Though both types of surgeries aim at reducing the pain and improving movement and function of the joint, there are some differences that you should be aware of before deciding upon any one of them:

  • While traditional knee joint replacement surgery requires an incision of about 8 to 12 inches long, robotic knee replacement surgery requires a small incision of about 3 to 6 inches.
  • The robotic knee replacement surgery is minimally invasive (since the surgeon accesses the damaged region through a small incision) causing less blood loss and a faster recovery period than the traditional knee replacement surgery
  • The robotic knee replacement surgery reduces the margin of error involved in knee replacement surgery. It takes precise measurements of the damaged joints of the body giving better alignment to the prosthetic and can navigate with ease through the smallest corners than the traditional surgery where the surgeon relies solely on his experience. This precision and alignment give a more desirable outcome to the patients in terms of better mobility, flexibility and better quality of life.

Which doctor to consult for a robotic knee replacement surgery?

Initially, you will be guided by an orthopaedic doctor for medication and a physical therapist will take care of the exercises part of your treatment. In case these do not seem to be working, your orthopaedic doctor will refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon.

If you are looking for an orthopaedic surgeon yourself, try opting for one with a good amount of experience in surgeries. The more the experience the better the outcome of the surgery. This applies to a robotic knee replacement surgeon as well. Surgeons like Dr Kaushik Patel who have been practising for over a decade are a good place to start.

How long does a joint replacement last?

Joint replacement lasts for about 12 to 15 years. The number of years a joint replacement lasts varies from person to person, or any medical conditions they have and their lifestyle. Reviving the joint with a new one after it wears off is also possible. Talk to your doctor about the ways in which you can preserve your joint replacement for a longer duration.

What are the benefits of robotic joint replacement surgery?

  • It allows for better precision during the surgery
  • Gives better balance to the soft tissues of the joint
  • Gives better alignment to the joints
  • Less blood loss during the surgery
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Shorter hospital stays post-surgery
  • Better results in smooth movements of the joints

Robotic Knee Replacement can make it possible for those who have joint stiffness and pain to resume their favourite pastimes. Many people regain mobility and enjoy more active lifestyles after a joint replacement. To protect your new joint, you may need to change your routine because healing timeframes vary from person to person. Have an open dialogue about what to expect following the procedure with your surgeon. Setting acceptable goals is crucial. For the best results, adhere to your PT schedule and take your doctor's recommendations while you're recovering.