Robotic surgery is gaining ground as the preferred surgical option for many health concerns. It allows for better precision, less blood loss during operations and shorter recovery times.
When it comes to improved range of motion and getting back to daily activities quickly, robotic surgery offers a favourable solution.
This is more so for knee osteoarthritis which is the most common reason for needing a joint replacement. Knee osteoarthritis leads to stiffness, swelling and joint pain as well as difficulties in daily activities such as walking up and down stairs and climbing in and out of cars.
More than 2.1 million Australians have osteoarthritis and women are more likely to have knee osteoarthritis compared to men. However, almost half of the population over 65 years has signs of the condition and it can also occur in younger people, particularly in athletes or those with joint injuries.
While there is no specific cause of knee osteoarthritis, it results from inflammation and loss of cartilage, the ‘shock absorber’ which covers the ends of the knee bones.
Sex, age, sports injuries, weight, wear and tear, genetics, repetitive joint weight bearing and intensive labour activities, all play a role in its development.
It is also believed arthritis may occur as a result of the joint trying to repair itself.
In the early stages of arthritis, symptoms tend to occur during or after physical activity. As the arthritis worsens, symptoms can appear at rest and also during the night.
When doctors are assessing you for knee osteoarthritis, they’ll look for physical signs such as joint deformity and enlargement, morning joint stiffness, a grating or friction between the bone and cartilage, and lack of joint warmth.
At present, there is no cure for knee osteoarthritis and initial treatment usually involves managing symptoms through anti-inflammatory and pain medications, analgesic creams, corticosteroid injections directly into the joint, physiotherapy, low impact exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling and muscle strengthening and weight loss.
Once symptoms can no longer be controlled or self-managed, surgery may be recommended. Robotic knee replacements were introduced in Australia in late 2017 and orthopaedic surgeons at Hurstville Private have been leading the way with the new technology.
Dr Razvan Stoita, Orthopaedic Surgeon, says the new pin-point precise NAVIO technology used at Hurstville Private involves a hand-held robotic device, which allows surgeons to tailor every knee implant to each individual patient and reconstruct knees as close as possible to their pre-arthritic state.
The outlook for people living with knee osteoarthritis has been shown to be very positive. However, Dr Stoita says not all people are suitable candidates for surgery and people considering the operation should have a thorough review with their doctor for appropriate assessment and advice.
For further information about robotic knee replacement, contact Hurstville Private Hospital Orthopaedics Department on (02) 8005 5111.