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Robotic Knee Replacement vs. Traditional Knee Replacement

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

Joints are an essential part of our body, and we rely on them for almost every movement. From the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed, our body relies on joints to perform even the simplest of tasks. One such joint that plays a crucial role in our daily lives is the knee joint. It is one of the largest and most complex joints in our body, allowing us to perform activities such as walking, running, jumping, and sitting.

However, knee joint problems can arise, disrupting our entire routine and making it challenging to carry out daily activities. These problems can be caused by various factors such as knee osteoarthritis, knee effusion, meniscus tear, ligament tear, and more. Knee joint problems are prevalent among older adults due to the natural wear and tear that occurs over time. Athletes who engage in high-impact activities such as running or sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting movements are also at an increased risk of experiencing knee pain and problems.

To treat knee joint problems, non-surgical treatments are often recommended as the first line of treatment. These treatments may include physical therapy, pain relief medication, or injections. However, knee replacement surgery may be necessary if the pain persists and non-surgical treatments do not provide relief.

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves removing the damaged or diseased part of the knee joint and replacing it with an artificial joint. There are two methods by which knee replacement surgery can be performed.

In this blog, we will delve into both types of knee replacement surgery and learn about their differences so that you can make an informed decision if you ever require knee replacement surgery.

What is traditional knee replacement surgery?

Traditional Knee Replacement Surgery

Traditional knee replacement surgery, also called conventional knee replacement surgery, is a well-established orthopaedic procedure used to treat various knee conditions that cause pain and mobility issues. During the surgery, the damaged portion of the knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint, also known as a prosthesis or implant, made of metal and plastic components. The primary goal of this procedure is to alleviate pain and restore mobility and functionality to the knee joint.

Traditional knee replacement surgery involves a long incision in the middle of the knee joint to access and view the affected area. The surgeon then removes the damaged bone and cartilage from the femur, tibia, and patella and prepares the surfaces to receive the artificial joint components. The metal components are then attached to the ends of the bones, and a plastic spacer is inserted in between to allow for smooth movement. The procedure typically takes an hour and patients are given spinal anaesthesia.

After the surgery, patients require a few days of hospitalization and 3-6 weeks of rehabilitation to regain strength and mobility in the knee joint. The rehabilitation process involves physical therapy exercises and movements to improve flexibility and muscle strength in the affected area. Patients may also be required to use assistive devices such as crutches or walkers during the initial recovery period.

What is Robotic knee replacement surgery?

Robotic knee replacement surgery

Robotic knee replacement, also known as robot-assisted knee replacement, is a newer and more advanced surgical technique used for knee replacement procedures. In this procedure, the surgeon uses a robotic arm to assist them in preparing the bone surfaces and placing the artificial joint components. During the robotic knee replacement surgery, the surgeon creates a 3D virtual model of the patient's knee joint using advanced computer software. This model helps the surgeon plan and customize the surgery according to the patient's specific anatomy and requirements.

The robotic arm is programmed to follow the surgeon's pre-planned movements and make precise cuts on the bone surface to prepare it for the implant. The surgeon can control the robotic arm's movements and adjust them as needed throughout the procedure.

Once the bone surfaces are prepared, the surgeon places the artificial joint components specially designed to fit the patient's anatomy. The robotic arm can also assist the surgeon in placing the components accurately and precisely, ensuring optimal alignment and stability of the new joint.

Difference between traditional knee replacement surgery and robotic knee replacement surgery

Difference between traditional knee replacement surgery and robotic knee replacement surgery

1. Surgical Technique:

The traditional knee replacement surgery involves the surgeon making a long incision down the centre of the knee to access the damaged joint. In contrast, robotic knee replacement surgery uses a minimally invasive approach with smaller incisions. The surgeon also uses a robotic arm to assist them in preparing the bone surfaces and placing the artificial joint components.

2. Precision:

Traditional knee replacement surgery relies on the surgeon's skill and experience to make precise cuts and measurements during the procedure. On the other hand, robotic knee replacement surgery uses advanced computer software and a robotic arm to assist the surgeon in making precise cuts and measurements with higher accuracy. This precision helps ensure optimal alignment and positioning of the artificial joint components, which can lead to better long-term outcomes for patients.

3. Recovery Time:

Robotic knee replacement surgery can offer a shorter recovery time than traditional knee replacement surgery. With smaller incisions, there is less trauma to the surrounding tissue, which can result in less pain and a quicker return to daily activities.

4. Cost:

Robotic knee replacement surgery is generally more expensive than traditional knee replacement surgery. The use of advanced technology and specialized equipment required for the procedure contributes to the higher cost.

5. Surgeon's experience:

Performing robotic knee replacement surgery requires specialized training and expertise. Not all surgeons are trained to perform the procedure, which may only be available at specific medical centers. Traditional knee replacement surgery, on the other hand, has been used for many years. Because it is a well-established medical procedure, most orthopaedic surgeons are trained and experienced in performing it.

Advantages of Traditional Knee Replacement Surgery

  • Traditional knee replacement is a frequently performed procedure for knee replacement. With surgeons trained and experienced in this method, it is a highly reliable option.

  • It is generally less expensive than robotic knee replacement surgery, which may require specialized equipment and training.

  • This procedure is available at most hospitals and medical centres, making it more accessible to patients.

  • Traditional knee replacement surgery gives the surgeon more direct control and allows him or her to tailor the procedure to the patient's specific needs and circumstances.

Advantages of Robotic knee replacement surgery

  • Patients are more likely to be discharged earlier from the hospital after surgery. Hospital stays are shorter for patients and require fewer physical therapy sessions, leading to faster recovery.

  • Using robotics during knee replacement surgery can lead to less postoperative pain, stiffness, and discomfort. This can result in a faster recovery and less reliance on pain medication.

  • Smaller incisions are frequently used in robotic knee replacement surgery. This can lead to less tissue damage, scarring and a quicker recovery.

  • They have improved long-term outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Final takeaway,

It is crucial to clearly understand the differences between robotic and traditional knee replacement surgery before deciding which option is suitable for your needs. Age, lifestyle, and other factors may influence the recommendation from your orthopedic surgeon, and non-surgical treatments should be explored before considering surgery.

With a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology, a team of top orthopedic surgeons, and an excellent physiotherapy department, Polaris Healthcare is dedicated to providing high-quality knee replacement surgeries in Pune. We provide our patients with the best possible pre-and post-operative care, allowing them to return to normal life and improve their quality of life.

Want to consult the best orthopedic surgeons in Pune? Please take a look at the links below.

More From Dr. Surendra Patil


About The Author: Dr. Surendra Patil

Dr. Surendra Patil, MBBS, Diploma in Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics Surgery, is a dynamic surgeon with skilled hands well versed in various surgical procedures in orthopedics and exceptionally well-read in his chosen expertise. He is proficient in Arthroscopic Surgeries, Adult Joint Reconstruction Surgery, Accidents & Emergencies, Joint Replacement, Healthcare Management, and Healthcare in general. He is an experienced Medical Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & healthcare industry.

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