Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is part of a new national study, which will compare traditional methods of knee replacement, with a surgeon carrying out the procedure with a robotic arm.
The trust says the RACER-knee study aims to determine which of the two techniques is best at reducing pain for patients, as well as improving patient outcomes.
The patients taking part in the study will receive a knee replacement performed with the assistance of a robot (known as MAKO), or one that has been performed with standard surgical instruments.
If used, the robotic arm will help to perform the preparation of the bone for knee replacement and will be controlled by the surgeon alone.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the £1.6 million randomised control trial will include an equal number of participants – in each treatment group – to provide a balanced and fair comparison in finding out which technique results in the better outcomes.
Leader of the study, Professor David Deehan, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Freeman Hospital, and Mr David Weir, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, commented: “There’s currently no evidence which helps us determine whether traditional methods are more or less effective than carrying out knee replacements using a robotic arm. The study will help us make this important determination with the aim of improving outcomes for patients after their knee replacement.
“Although the RACER-knee study assesses total knee replacement, the technology has applications for hip replacements, too. We hope that further research helps to advance this technology so that it can be used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions, such as bone cancer.
“For such studies to be successful, we rely on patients volunteering to take part and, as such, we would like to thank those who have taken part in previous studies.”
The manufacturer of the arm, Stryker, will support the costs of the study to ensure the hospitals do not have to pay extra to participate.