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Robotic Hip Replacements….Are they worth the hype?


Total hip replacement is one of the most successful operations that you can have. A successful one can literally be transformational. It can take a patient who is living with constant pain, dependent on strong pain killers, with very limited mobility and overnight, cure their pain and allow them to lead a fulfilling life. Because of the National Joint Registry, here in the UK, we can track patients after their surgery and see how long the implants last. We know that on average, if you have a well-designed implant (such as an Exeter), over 96% will still be in place and functioning well at 14 years. It is reasonable to predict that those implants will last 20 to 30 years. However, we know that if the components are not put in correctly or if the leg length or soft-tissue balance is not right, it can have a significant impact on the complication rate or how well the implant functions. This has led to the development of robotic hips.

mako surgical robot
Mako robot

Recently, some work has been done on what people are doing with their hip replacements after surgery. One paper published in 2019 showed that while all their patients returned to activity, there was a general move from high to low impact exercise. Another showed that after 10 years, 89% remained active but again there was a significant decrease in high impact sport. What is not clear is was that because patients were told to reduce their activity by their doctor/surgeon or was it because they themselves did not want to wear the new joint out? Perhaps by improving the accuracy of surgery and the muscle balance, we can have the confidence to enable people to maintain their desired level of activity?

The market leader by far in robotic assisted hip surgery is Stryker and the MAKO robot. They have well in excess of 500 machines around the world and over 40 in the UK. At the Manchester Hip Clinic and Spire Manchester, we started doing MAKO procedures in 2018 and are now the highest volume centre in the UK. Essentially, what MAKO does, is use CT scans to accurately map the shape of the patients own hip so that the new artificial one mirrors it exactly and then the robotic element ensures that the surgeon puts it in perfectly. Recent publications have shown that when using this technology, there is increased accuracy, improved patient function and quicker recovery.

computer planning for mako
Mako surgical planning

The use of MAKO has transformed how we do hip replacements. We see a lot of younger patients who have abnormally shaped hips that would previously have been very challenging to replace. With MAKO, we now have the confidence to know that we are choosing the correct implant and putting it in in the best possible position. That confidence allows us to encourage patients to return to sport and a range of different activities. If I was having a hip or knee replacement, I would definitely have it done using MAKO!

Understand more about MAKO…click HERE

Hear Oshors story…click HERE

The Manchester Hip Clinic is committed to helping all kinds of people with hip problems to be free from pain and often to resume near-normal levels of physical activity – even those who may have thought that such relief would never be possible.

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