Robot-assisted joint replacement: higher precision for faster recovery

As a university hospital and certified maximum care endoprosthetics centre, we always work at the cutting edge of science and medical technology. With us, patients benefit from highly innovative diagnostic and treatment procedures. The robotic arm-supported surgical technique "Mako" is currently the most modern method of knee endoprosthetics. We have been offering it in our hospital already since autumn 2019.

"Mako" enables us to operate in a manner that is even kinder on the tissue, more exact and finely tuned to the patient's individual anatomy," says Hospital Director, Univ.-Prof. Rüdiger von Eisenhart-Rothe. "This makes the surgery even more safe."

Advantages for the patient
  • Better function and more normal feeling of the implant
  • Longer holding time (lifetime) of the prosthesis
  • Fewer re-operations (revisions)
  • Shorter recovery time with less post-operative pain
  • Greater safety (fewer soft tissue injuries and complications such as ligament injuries)
  • Bone-saving
Advantages for the surgeons
  • Personalised planning of the operation
  • Precise surgical intervention
  • Optimal fitting of the implant
  • Surgical flexibility during the intervention
  • Complete and partial replacement of the knee joint possible with precision
This is how the operation with the robotic arm unfolds

The “Mako” system uses computer simulation and a robotic arm to assist the doctor during the operation. In a first step, a virtual, three-dimensional image of the patient's knee joint is prepared with the help of computer tomography (CT).

On the computer, the doctor can use this 3D model to plan exactly in which position the prosthesis should be anchored before the operation. Fine-tuned adjustment is then carried out during the operation based on the ligament tension. In the end, the doctor decides on the best individual position for the artificial joint and programmes it accordingly.

During the operation, the doctor guides the robotic arm, which precisely carries out the milling operations on the upper and lower leg bones - as specified in the simulation. As electronic assistant, the robot immediately reports when even a minimal deviation from the defined operating area occurs. "This ensures that no more bone is removed than planned and that no nerves, ligaments or other soft tissues are injured," says Univ.-Prof. von Eisenhart-Rothe.

New technique - but safe

Worldwide, more than 300,000 joint replacement operations have been performed with the “Mako” robotic arm thus far. No specific risks associated with this technique were identified.

The robotic arm: a reliable assistant

The "Mako" robotic arm is not an autonomously acting robot technology, but an assistance system that supports and refines the work of the surgeon. The orthopaedic surgeon performs the operation himself. In doing so, he guides and operates the robotic arm.