Abu Dhabi: Patients with chronic knee problems are cured through advanced robotic surgeries at the Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) in Abu Dhabi.
SSMC, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, utilises cutting-edge robotic technology to perform intricate surgical procedures.
Dr Mohamed Muath Adi, Chair of the Orthopaedics Division, says the robotic knee joint replacement has a transformative impact in addressing chronic knee pain and osteoarthritic conditions.
“We are proud to be delivering on our primary value of meeting our patients’ needs, by introducing this cutting-edge technology — robotic knee joint replacement at SSMC, which addresses chronic knee pain, in addition to a range of osteoarthritic conditions and allows us to consider the unique motion and shape of the knee," Dr Adi, consultant orthopedic surgeon and chair of the Orthopaedics Division at SSMC.
“By fusing the power of technology and clinical practice, we can ensure that the highest levels of precision are met when positioning and aligning implants,” Dr Adi said.
“The tool’s technological features allow us to tailor our procedures and personalise them to suit each patient’s individual anatomy resulting in improved outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction.”
In so doing, SSMC has set new standards in knee replacements through innovative technologies, enhancing surgical approaches and patient outcomes.
By integrating technology with clinical expertise, SSMC achieves superior surgical outcomes and patient satisfaction, he said.
The robot-assisted approach ensures that the surgeon remains in full control throughout the procedure and contributes to enhancing surgical results with short- and long-term outcomes for patients.
Patients like a 52-year-old man and a 72-year-old woman have experienced significant improvements in mobility and pain relief post-surgery.
Robotic knee replacement vs traditional knee replacement
A robotic knee replacement is similar to a traditional knee replacement. The surgeon removes damaged tissue in your knee and replaces it with an artificial joint.
The difference is that it’s done with assistance from a robotic arm, which allows for greater precision.
This procedure took place in 1985 as robotics were used to reduce movement due to hand tremors.
In 1988, the PROBOT, developed at the Imperial College London, was used to make several repetitive incisions during a transurethral prostate surgery.
Currently, surgical robot systems serve to supplement and augment a surgeon’s skills. The main part of the device uses robotic arms fitted with tiny laparoscopic clamps that can be fitted with various tools to aid in the operation of minimally-invasive surgical procedures.
The surgeon operates the device from a nearby terminal using precise controls. The controls are designed to mimic the hand movements of the surgeon so even complex procedures can be performed through minimally invasive incisions.
Robots in operating theatres
Conventional total knee replacements pose several limitations. Surgeons have a limited view of the joint during the technically demanding operation, and take longer to complete the procedure.
With traditional surgeries, 20 per cent of patients report some degree of limitation to their functional ability, impacting their ability to perform well at sports and carry out daily activities.
Moreover, 10 per cent of patients report that they are generally not satisfied with their conventional knee replacement surgeries.
How robotic surgery helps
SSMC is one of the hospitals that introduced robotic technology to perform some delicate surgical operations.
With robot-assisted procedures, for example, this DaVinci technology allows surgeons to achieve more accurate results and customise the procedure based on the individual anatomy of each patient requiring total knee replacement surgery.
Moreover, robot-assisted procedures allow surgeons to perform precise and complex operations that would be difficult or impossible with other methods.
The biggest upside: robotic surgery makes precise, minimally invasive surgery possible, which leads to fewer complications, such as surgical site infections.
SSMC has successfully treated a number of patients using the new robotic knee joint replacement technology.
A 52-year-old man, who travelled from abroad to specifically undergo a knee replacement surgery with Dr Adi, underwent the first robotic surgery at SSMC.
The patient had been suffering from pain and stiffness in his left knee for more than 30 years, and was unable to bend his knee more than 80 degrees. He had severe pain and some deformity in the knee.
The patient will continue with his physiotherapy sessions before returning to his home country for a full recovery.
The second patient, a 72-year-old Emirati woman, was unable to walk due to severe pain in her left knee. Dr Adi recommended the same procedure as it is less invasive and more suited to her condition and age.
She is progressing well towards a full recovery.
A 73-year-old Emirati man, who experienced significant pain in his left knee, underwent the robotic procedure. The surgery was successful and he is undergoing physiotherapy at home. Many other patients also benefited from the new robotic total knee replacement surgery in SSMC.
SSMC provides patients with specialised surgical approaches through pre-operative and intra-operative planning, better implant sizing and balancing patients’ soft tissue more effectively.
Commenting on the technological advances, Dr Matthew T. Gettman, chief medical officer at SSMC, said: “Providing patients with innovative and holistic healthcare solutions is at the heart of SSMC’s unique model of healthcare. Our vision of providing complex healthcare lies in our commitment to practice, research and education, and our agile adoption of the latest medical technologies such as robotics and AI.
“Introducing these advancements to our offerings has the potential to transform the standard of patient care in the region and offer patients elevated levels of health and well-being,” he says.
Studies have shown robotic surgeries deliver better results than traditional knee replacement. Robotic assistance allows for precision that reduces trauma on the bone and tissue.
It takes time to heal robot-assisted knee replacement surgery and traditional surgery. Physical therapy is required to regain strength and mobility. Medication to manage pain may be required as the patients makes a full recovery.