A surgical robot capable of assisting joint replacements and reducing the length of hospital stays is just what Warrnambool doctors have ordered.
A new era of surgery arrived in the city as the first total knee and hip replacements using the Mako SmartRobotics were completed at St John of God Hospital this week.
The hospital is the region's first to have access to robotics, with the new addition combining three key components including 3D CT-based planning, AccuStopTM haptic technology and Insightful Data Analytics into one platform.
The information provided by the robot - which does not operate independently - allows surgeons to create a patient-specific plan and helps them to assess and balance the joint.
Orthopaedic surgeon Nick Russell said the new technology was not only less invasive but was capable of adjusting in the circumstance a patient moved during the procedure.
"We bring the robot in and have arrays which map where the patient is in real-time, three-dimensional space," he said.
"The surgeon performs the surgery, but the robot limits where the cut is made.
"It doesn't allow us to go off the planned template and doesn't allow us to damage any further soft tissue.
"That results in smaller bone loss and less soft tissue damage together with potentially higher accuracy and precision."
Mr Russell said he was thrilled with the new addition, having used robotics elsewhere for a number of years.
"Having visited the design engineers in Amsterdam, I've been very interested in having this technology in Warrnambool," he said.
"It's a great step forward for our community.
"This is building on the technology we have, it's not a radically different procedure. It's the same joint replacement we've used for some years with very high success and satisfaction rates.
"It's a very successful procedure, this takes it to a new level in terms of the technology available which has been used for so many years in bigger centres and we're very excited to have it in Warrnambool now for our community."
Chief executive officer Alex Demidov said the private hospital was committed to providing the latest in medical technology.
"It's important to have the very latest surgical techniques and technologies made available to our community close to home," he said.
"Our surgeons are leading innovation to ensure the very best clinical outcomes for our patients are achieved each and every day".
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