The Mako Robotic surgical technique is at the forefront orthopaedic technology. Unlike automated industrial robots, the mako robotic arm does not perform any work independently. The robotic arm simply guides the surgeon to perform the operation with greatly increased accuracy every time.
The system is designed to minimise the margin of error , allowing for very precise component placement during total hip, total knee and partial knee replacement surgery. Increased surgical accuracy can promote a fast and uncomplicated recovery together with better and longer-lasting joint function.
Whilst the robot guides the operation, the surgeon remains in charge and responsible for every step of the procedure. The Surgeon is able to make changes to the technical plan during the operation according to the condition of the bone and soft tissues as encountered. However, unlike traditional joint replacement surgery, the accuracy of the Mako technique does not rely on surgeon "feel"and experience.
The success of a hip or knee replacement requires accurate reconstruction of normal joint anatomy, movement and stability. If this is not done correctly the joint will not feel "right". There may be pain, stiffness or weakness. Under extreme circumstances, inaccurate surgery can result in noticeable leg-length inequality, hip dislocation, or early failure of the replacement. Whilst there are traditional methods that surgeons use to ensure a perfect replacement operation, there may be a risk of "human error". This may account for why some Surgeons seem to have better results than others. The main advantage of the MAKO robotic surgery is that the risk of inaccurate surgery is minimised. Whilst this does not remove all of the potential risks of surgery, anticipated benefits include better patient recovery, level of functioning, and implant longevity.
Although the Mako technology is widely established in the U.S , only a few centres in the UK including The Princess Grace Hospital in London offer this form of surgery. After meeting with a surgeon trained in the Mako technique, a CT scan is performed to accurately "map" each patients individual anatomy. Usually this is undertaken 2 weeks before the date of surgery. The surgeon then performs a "virtual operation" before the real procedure. This allows precise selection of the best implant type, size, position and orientation. Factors such as leg-length, offset, and implant fit can be adjusted to the millimetre as required.
During the operation, the Mako robot guides the surgeon to deliver precisely the operation as planned. If the tissues around the joint are abnormally contracted or lax, the Surgeon can make adjustments. The Mako robot will then be able to accurately gauge the effect of any subtle adjustments and feed this information back to the Surgeon.