NHS Grampian hospital undertakes 100th robot-assisted surgery

Surgeons at NHS Grampian have undertaken their 100th orthopaedic surgery using a state-of-the-art robot – just three months after it was installed.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 24th September 2021, 6:50 am
Updated Friday, 24th September 2021, 7:18 am
The theatre team celebrate the 100th operation assisted by the Mako robot, which is helping tackle waiting lists.
The theatre team celebrate the 100th operation assisted by the Mako robot, which is helping tackle waiting lists.

Earlier this year, surgeons at Woodend Hospital, in Aberdeen, became the first at a territorial board in Scotland to undertake a robotic hip replacement.

The technology is also used for other orthopaedic operations, including knee replacements.

The 100th robot-assisted took place at the end of August.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Steven Hamilton said: “The 100th Mako case has quickly been achieved due to the hard work of the whole orthopaedic team at Woodend Hospital.

“The Stryker Mako Robot has greatly improved joint replacement accuracy and will continue to benefit the patients requiring hip and knee replacements in the north-east of Scotland.”

Although dubbed “robot surgery” the surgeon is still very much carrying out the operation – the robot simply allows surgeons to be more precise, improving overall capacity and patient experience.

Consultant in trauma and orthopaedics, Gareth Medlock added: “The Mako gives me the confidence that I am attaining a high level of accuracy I want for my patients so they get the best function from their joint replacement.

“For hip replacement patients the robot allows more accurate implant positioning - which minimises muscle damage, allowing quicker recovery.

“For knee replacement patients most have less post-operative pain, and quicker recovery times.

“That in turn creates extra capacity for us to operate on more patients, freeing up beds as patients go home more quickly.

“This lets us tackle waiting lists faster and helps us improve the quality of life for more patients more quickly.”

Woodend Hospital already has one of the shortest length of stays for patients in the country for knee and hip patients and it is hoped the new technology will improve this further.

Clinical lead, consultant Andrew Johnston added: “Even in the short time since the introduction of Mako we have already seen the benefits it can provide.

“Patients undergoing knee replacement are reporting less postoperative pain, enabling a shorter length of stay and more comfortable recovery.”

Unit operational manager for surgery Sean Berryman added: “It’s remarkable that we have hit this milestone so soon after launching and that is testament to the talent and incredibly hard work of the team around this.

“We’re still in the process of training all our surgeons to be able to use it, so with the limited number able to use it at the moment it is quite a feat.

“We have six surgeons fully trained to use the orthopaedic robot so far, with training to be undertake by others in the near future – so that number will continue to increase and eventually boost our capacity.”

Earlier this year NHS Grampian announced a £3.5 million investment in the technology as it moves to increase capacity, and looks to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic in a position to treat more patients more quickly.