Hip joint disorders can cause significant pain, mobility limitations, and reduced quality of life. These disorders affect the hip joint, which is a ball-and-socket joint connecting the thigh bone (femur) to the pelvis. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, hip fractures, and other degenerative diseases can lead to the deterioration of the hip joint.
Total Hip Replacement (THR), also known as hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure performed to replace a damaged or diseased hip joint with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. The goal of THR is to relieve pain, improve mobility, and restore function to the hip joint. Traditional THR involves removing the damaged bone and cartilage of the hip joint and replacing it with a prosthetic implant composed of metal, plastic, or ceramic components.
In recent years, advancements in technology have led to the development of Robotic-Assisted Total Hip Replacement (Robotic THR). Robotic THR combines the expertise of a surgeon with the precision and accuracy of a robotic system. Here's how it works:
- Preoperative Planning - Before the surgery, the patient's hip anatomy is analysed using advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans or MRI. This information is used to create a virtual 3D model of the patient's hip joint, which aids in planning the surgery.
- Robotic Assistance - During the surgery, the surgeon uses a robotic system that consists of a robotic arm and specialised instruments. The robotic arm is controlled by the surgeon and provides real-time feedback and guidance based on the preoperative plan.
- Enhanced Visualisation - The robotic system incorporates high-definition cameras and magnification capabilities, allowing the surgeon to visualise the hip joint in great detail. This enhanced visualisation helps in precise implant positioning and accurate bone preparation.
- Bone Preparation - The robotic system assists the surgeon in removing the damaged bone and preparing the acetabulum (socket) and femur (thigh bone) for the placement of the prosthesis. The robotic arm provides haptic feedback, ensuring that the bone preparation is precise and optimal.
- Implant Placement - The surgeon guides the robotic arm to position the prosthetic components accurately. The robotic system helps in achieving optimal alignment and stability, which are crucial for long-term success and longevity of the implant.
- Intraoperative Assessment - Throughout the procedure, the robotic system continuously monitors and assesses the patient's anatomy and surgical progress. This allows the surgeon to make real-time adjustments, if necessary, to ensure the best possible outcome.
Benefits of Robotic THR
- Enhanced Precision - The robotic system assists the surgeon in achieving precise implant positioning, potentially improving the longevity and function of the prosthesis.
- Customised Treatment - The preoperative planning and virtual modelling allow for a personalised approach, considering the patient's unique anatomy and alignment.
- Reduced Complications - The accuracy and reliability of the robotic system may help reduce complications such as dislocation, leg length discrepancy, and joint instability.
- Faster Recovery - Robotic THR may result in less trauma to the surrounding tissues, leading to a quicker recovery, reduced pain, and shorter hospital stays.
- Improved Outcomes - Early studies suggest that robotic THR may lead to better patient-reported outcomes, including pain relief, range of motion, and overall satisfaction.
It is important to note that while robotic THR offers promising advancements, it is still a surgical procedure that requires skilled surgeons with expertise in joint replacement. The availability of robotic-assisted surgery may vary depending on the healthcare facility and the surgeon's training.