Which Surgical Procedure Is Right For You?
For patients needing knee surgery, particularly knee replacement surgery, there is a tough dilemma. Some surgeons will opt for traditional, open surgery. Others will recommend a modern approach via robotic knee surgery. The thought of robotic-assisted surgery could be daunting. However, of the more than 800,000 knee surgeries that happen every year, many use this innovative technique. Between the two techniques, which is better?
Traditional or open surgery?
Some of the first modern surgical procedures happened in the 1500s. These procedures were all open surgeries. The surgeon would make one large incision to access the surgical site. The patient will be asleep under general anesthesia. After the procedure, the surgeon will use several stitches to close the incision. Today, surgeons worldwide still use open surgery for millions of procedures every year. Open surgery still has high success rates and is useful in many cases.
In 1975 surgeons performed the first laparoscopic procedure. Smaller incisions allowed a snake-like tool to enter the body and give the surgeon a view of the surgical site. Over time, fiber optic technology projected an image on a screen, improving accuracy and downtime. Then, in the late 1980s, robotics was first introduced into surgery. A robotic arm with small tools assists the doctor in completing joint surgeries. The robotic device also projects high-quality images to improve speed and accuracy. For joint replacements, robotic-arm assisted surgery even maps out the prosthetic joint in advance.
Robotics brings groundbreaking efficiency
With the technology, robotics became a useful part of minimally invasive knee surgery. Using CT scans and 3-D technology, the devices creates a digital replica of the prosthetics. The machine also provides the exact installation location of the new joint. These simple additions improves the speed of surgery. The robotic arm can also help with errors, improving the accuracy for new and experienced surgeons. Open surgery tends to be a longer operation due to larger incisions and blood loss. There’s also a possibility of setting the prosthetics with a slight error, which can prolong healing.
A better surgical experience
Patients benefit significantly from robotic knee surgery. Thanks to advanced technology and minimally invasive techniques, the surgeon only needs to make a couple of small incisions. Minor incisions mean less blood loss during surgery. Smaller cuts also reduce the chances of infections, with a less than 1% infection rate. These benefits mean the patient should be able to leave the same day, especially if surgery happens at an ambulatory surgical center (ASC).
Faster recovery and outcomes
Surgery needs a smooth recovery process to be truly successful. With robotics, there is a significant advantage here. Open surgery has longer recovery times than robotic surgery, as large incisions need time to heal. These incisions are also prone to infections. The recovery time and use of the prosthetic are faster with robotic surgery. Furthermore, patients will enjoy better success rates and a reduced chance of joint failure.
Is this the end for open surgery?
The advantages of robotics could sound like traditional surgery is coming to an end. This is not the case. There is still a need for open surgery in medicine. All patients who need knee replacements are not ideal candidates for robotic procedures. Patients who qualify need to be in good health with a knee that will respond to robotic knee surgery. Traditional surgery may be best due to weight, age, complications with the joint, and pre-existing conditions.
Choose what’s right for you
Knee surgery may be necessary to get some much-needed relief. Luckily, different surgical options can help. Robotic surgery has some fantastic advantages over traditional procedures, such as quick surgeries, reduced infections, and faster recovery. However, traditional surgery can still be effective in certain situations. Speak with a doctor about the possibility of robotic knee surgery today.