Joondalup Health Campus
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‘R2-knee-2’ and now hips too at Joondalup Health Campus

Aug 23, 2016

Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) recently became one of the first hospitals in Australia to offer robot-assisted hip replacement surgery.

The robot not only provides greater accuracy during surgery, it is also minimally invasive, highly personalised to each patient and offers faster recovery time than traditional surgery.

The Stryker Mako robot at JHC, affectionately dubbed ‘R2-knee-2,’ was initially used for partial knee replacement (PKR) surgery, then last month an additional ‘arm’ was added enabling surgeons to also perform total hip replacements.

JHC orthopaedic consultant Mr Arash Taheri completed a seven-month fellowship in America last year, assisting with hundreds of cases under world-renowned experts Dr Paul Gilbert and Dr Lawrence Dorr, making him one the most experienced surgeons in this field in Western Australia.

“The robot works using high resolution 3D imaging, where a computer correlates what the surgeon is seeing and feeling in real time to a pre-operative digital plan based on a 3D CT scan of the patient,” he explains.

“You can see exactly where the replacement will sit and how tensioned it will be. It ensures that the replacement will be well aligned – we are able to make the bone cuts within one millimetre and one degree of accuracy.”

JHC orthopaedic surgeon Mr Geoff Cooper has also been trained in the use of the robot for partial knee replacement surgery and between him and Mr Taheri, they have performed close to 70 robot-assisted hip and knee operations to date.

Robotic joint surgery, Mr Taheri says, has taken off in the United States where it’s a very competitive market – and it’s likely to do the same here in Australia: “I’d say we are going to also see an insurgence of technology becoming part of our medical practise here in Australia.”

Technology, he says, is creeping into every facet of orthopaedics: “Pretty much wherever they can they are introducing technology.  Any form of technology you can use to produce a more precise outcome is advantageous.”

Mr Taheri believes we are seeing a shift away from knee and hip replacement surgery being the domain of retirees.

“I think we shall see more and younger people who want something done to solve their pain,” he says.  “As the Government looks set to increase the retirement age to 70, this is something that will help people to be in physical shape to enable them to keep working longer.”