Robotic Clinical Trials of Uni-condylar Arthroplasty
The concepts and benefits of hands-on robotic surgery and active-constraint robotics are introduced in this paper. The argument is made for systems to be cost effective and simple in order that they can be justified for a large range of surgical procedures. The case is made for robotic systems to have a clear justification, with benefits compared to those from cheaper navigation systems. The need to have robust systems, that require little surgical training and no technical presence in the operating room, is also discussed. An active constraint medical robot, the Acrobot® system, is described together with its use in a prospective randomised controlled trial of uni-condylar knee arthroplasty (UKA) comparing the performance of the Acrobot® System with conventional surgery. 28 patients awaiting UKA were randomly allocated to have the operation performed conventionally or with the assistance of the Acrobot. The results of the trial are presented to together with a discussion of the need for measures of accuracy to be introduced, so that the efficacy of the robotic surgery can be immediately identified, rather than have to wait for a number of years before long-term clinical improvements can be demonstrated.