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Robotic surgeons provide relief for knee patients

Robotic knee surgeon Simon Jennings
Consultant Simon Jennings with the new equipment

Central Middlesex Hospital is pioneering the use of robotic surgery in knee replacement.

Surgeon Simon Jennings and his colleagues have carried out more than 25 procedures since the new technology was introduced two months ago.

“The accuracy with which we can insert and position the replacement knee is fantastic,” said the 50 year-old orthopaedic consultant.

“We’re talking about a procedure which is a huge step forward and will hopefully see better patient outcomes, faster recovery times as well as reducing overheads.

"Patients stay in hospital for up to three days after surgery but we are hoping to reduce that moving forward.”

The team carried out more than 400 traditional knee replacements in 2017-18 and Simon and surgical colleagues Ian Holloway and Matthew Bartlett travelled to the US last year where the robotic assisted procedure is widely used.

The hand-held device employs the use of 3D technology so surgeons can ‘virtually’ position the knee, cut bones and reposition tissue with pinpoint accuracy.

The team’s first complete knee surgery procedure using the NAVIO system has some unexpected competition in the shape of a private hospital in Hertfordshire which was also undertaking the same operation at the same time.

3D image of knee
Connecting the dots: 3D image of the knee being mapped

“They pipped us to the post being a European first by 30 minutes but it was still a great achievement.”

The Central Middlesex team has now carried out more total knee replacements using the NAVIO procedure than anywhere else in Europe and Simon sees it as the preferred option moving forward.

“The NHS carries out more than 70,000 knee replacement every year and that figure will continue to grow as we live longer. If we can offer something that produces better results for our patients and is more cost effective that has to be a winner.”