Robotic technology is increasingly playing a bigger role in the medical industry every day. Innovations like robotic arms have been around for a while but are now being put to new use in a variety of ways. One example of this? Surgeons have found a way to use robotic arms during knee replacement procedures. The use of robotic arms during knee replacement surgeries could ultimately affect and improve how patients recover.
What Is It?
The concept is simple: Doctors program a robotic arm for use in conjunction with other technology during surgery. The robotic arm itself does not perform the operation, but rather guides and assists the surgeon.
Knee replacements are frequent procedures and they entail a surgeon removing the arthritic portion of the knee and replacing it with an implant. A robotic arm improves precision when placing the implant.
How Does It Work?
Knee replacement procedures require planning, precision, and a steady hand. Beforehand, doctors will use other robotics and technology to plan how to remove the arthritic portion of the knee. They can then program the robotic arm with restraints, orientation, and intensity.
The procedure requires a saw, too. When surgeons use the robotic arm to make cuts, it offers much more precision and stability since it has been programmed. It helps the surgeon guiding it to stay away from soft tissue or ligaments that are outside its parameters. This lessens any unnecessary cuts in those areas. It can also adjust the tightness of the ligaments to better accommodate them and avoid damage.
During the procedure, the surgeon receives feedback from the robotic arm so they know how to best navigate. With fewer cuts and a better idea of how and where to place the implant, patients can recover more comfortably and quickly.
How Does It Compare?
Everyone’s recovery times will vary, despite the aid of the robotic arm. Knee pain has a number of causes and treatments, so surgery should be a last resort. However, knee replacement surgery with or without a robotic arm’s assistance can help.
The traditional and robotic approaches to knee replacements are fairly similar. They both entail roughly the same number of cuts, time and recovery period. With the robotic arm, though, surgeons have more clarity regarding how to go about the procedure and where to best place the implant for optimal patient comfort. This can lead to reduced discomfort or adjustment period during recovery.
Skepticism about rehabilitation and recovery time sometimes turns people away from getting the knee surgery they may need. However, the use of robotic arms is proving to make this process easier.
With proper precision, the robotic arm can also assist in shaping the surrounding bone for the implant. All these benefits can lead to a more positive result for patients. Additionally, if a person qualifies for traditional knee replacement surgery, then they will most likely qualify for the use of a robotic arm, too. Anyone interested should contact their health insurance company for more details.
Where Will It Go from Here?
Technology changing industries all over the world for the better and the medical profession is receiving many of those benefits. The robotic arm for knee replacement surgery is just one example of how technology is changing the game. Other things like CT-based 3D modeling and printing allow better visualization and planning for procedures. In fact, many surgeons use this tech for knee replacement surgeries, too.
As technology evolves with each day, it will bring even more innovations that will change people’s lives for the better.
How It Can Help With The COVID-19 Crisis
(This section is written by Matthew Barnes)
Kate highlighted some very important points in this article. By using the latest advancements in robotic technology, healthcare professionals have the potential to be more precise when it comes to surgery, which can result in fewer errors.
We are seeing the COVID-19 create havoc around the world.
I’m sure you’ve all had your lives disrupted by this pandemic. It’s taking the world by storm and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. At least in Canada for the moment.
If healthcare professionals, such as doctors, physicians, and nurses are able to use technologies such as robotics, it could be a game-changer for you and I.
Social distancing is a thing now, and your government is enforcing it.
It’s one at a time for the water depot where I live, it’s no more cash is accepted at the gas station, and it also means no more social gatherings.
No more partying, no more concerts, shows, etc.
Imagine if this crisis gets worse, say the virus mutates into another form, and those infected end up needing advanced care, such as surgery.
Something as complex as a robotic arm or something of a similar nature could help protect the doctor if he/she needs to work on an infected patient.
He can operate from a safe distance, and with the help of automation, there might be little input needed from him.
There could be machines put in place to carry medicine up and down hospital hallways to infected patients and dispense the necessary antibiotics to infected patients. These measures could potentially reduce the risk to our healthcare providers who are already stressed because of the pandemic.
Here in Canada, the government has a website that allows any business to signup in efforts to contribute to the resolution of this crisis.
Companies are being asked to do all they can, to assist in overcoming COVID-19.
These are tough times for us all. Major events have been canceled, tech companies are streaming events and launched for new products, sports are on hold for now, and non-essential businesses are being asked to shut down for 14-15 days.