Robots begin to play a bigger role in total knee arthroplasty


Robots are becoming more commonplace in total knee arthroplasties, according to the American Joint Replacement Registry's 2023 annual report on hip and knee arthroplasty procedural trends and patient outcomes.

According to the report, over the past six years, the use of robots in total knee arthroplasties has increased sixfold. Its use was reported in more than 13% of procedures in 2022.

The use of computer navigation in total knee arthroplasties has remained fairly stable and was used in 4.1% of procedures in 2022. 

As the use of robots becomes more common, it is key to examine the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. 

"Without a doubt robotic technology in hip and knee replacement surgery has been very disruptive to the status quo," Joseph Nessler, MD, orthopedic surgeon at St. Cloud Orthopedics in Sartell and St. Cloud, Minn., told Becker's. "There are many advantages I have seen with robotic technology, including improved accuracy and consistent surgical results and also the ability to plan and streamline surgical workflow as we have in our ASC. The biggest drawback is initial start-up costs, but most manufacturers are becoming very creative in financing, rebates and incentives, so this once major hurdle is slowly becoming less of a barrier. The other concern is inconsistency in robotic platforms. Some so-called robotic platforms today are just glorified navigation systems, and surgeons and administrators need to do their homework when evaluating different manufacturers' offerings."

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