In a first for a robot-assisted surgery in SA, a full knee-replacement operation was successfully completed in Johannesburg using the state-of-the-art Mako robotic-arm assisted surgery system.
According to Netcare, the surgery was performed at its Linksfield Hospital by Orthopaedic surgeon, Doctor Chris McCready.
“There is no national register for local total knee replacements currently, but with an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 total knee replacements taking place in South Africa each year, this technology could signal a new era in personalised joint replacement.”
One of the major advantages of the robotic-assisted surgical system was that it drew data from a computed tomography (CT) scan of the patient’s knee prior to surgery. This was used to develop a three-dimensional pre-operative plan unique to each individual.
“This technology determines the dimensions for the surgical cuts to the bone surfaces, so that the best sized implanted joint components can be selected for each patient, and the placement and alignment of the implanted components can be planned in advance.
“During the operation, the robotic arm system provides detailed visual, auditory and tactile feedback to the surgeon, which helps to enhance surgical precision in positioning and aligning the knee implants.”
The robotic arm system is controlled by the surgeon at all times and provides an additional safeguard for the patient because it ensures that only the specific areas identified in the personalised pre-surgical plan can be operated on. This prevents damage to critical structures within the knee.
According to the managing director of Netcare’s hospital division, Jacques du Plessis, the development had the potential to significantly enhance patient outcomes.