March 10, 2023
MBOMBELA – It is a first not only for the city, but for the entire province: the Lowveld’s first-ever robotic surgery assistant is now in operation at Busamed Lowveld Private Hospital.
The ROSA® Robotic Surgical Assistant, created and manufactured by Zimmer Biomet, has already helped the orthopedic surgeons at Busamed Lowveld Private Hospital successfully performed 20 knee replacements surgeries from installation beginning of February 2023. Dr Kuhn and Dr Dimitriou did the initial cases with Dr K Steyn and other colleagues to follow.
A demonstration of how The ROSA® Robotic Assistant works and assists the surgeons was carried out at the hospital on Saturday morning.
Zimmer Biomet’s Connect sales manager, Johan Zwiegelaar, gave an overview of the future of robotics in orthopeadic surgery.
Zwiegelaar said there are over 700 Rosa Robotic Assistants globally, and 14 are currently being used in South Africa.
He said The ROSA® Robotic Assistant has helped perform over 700 knee replacements in 2022 in South Africa alone, and that there had also been a few hip replacements done. Surgeons at Busamed Lowveld Private Hospital will be using The ROSA® for hip – and shoulder surgery by the end of this year.
Busamed Lowveld Private Hospital orthopeadic surgeons Dr Alex Kuhn and Dr Dimitri Dimitriou also spoke about The ROSA® Robotic Assistants use in their operating rooms thus far. They emphasised that The ROSA® is a robotic assistant utilised during surgery, and rather assists in ensuring a more accurately placed knee replacement rather than taking over as the surgeon.
The ROSA® Robotic Assistant does not work without the surgeon prompting it to do so, and the doctors at Busamed Lowveld Private Hospital have been specially trained on how to use this assistant.
Dr Kuhn said the doctors teach The ROSA® Robotic Assistant the alignment of the leg that is being operated on, the degrees of movement and its alignment, and what these should be post-surgery.
Dr Kuhn then explained how The ROSA® works. Data on the unique anatomy and anatomical defects of the specific patient is fed to the robot by sensors. This data is then computed to determine the precise bone cuts and to balance the knee joints’ ligaments to optimise positioning of prosthesis. The robotic arm then assists the surgeon in performing the bony resection. The surgical procedure is still performed by the surgeon with assistance of The ROSA® only. Dr Dimitriou demonstrated on a model how The ROSA® functions, explaining that The ROSA® continuously checks the surgical steps.
“The arm makes sure that what the surgeon plans for the outcome of the surgery, will be what he achieves,” said Dr Kuhn
The implementation of the ROSA® Robotic Assistant system at Busamed Lowveld Private Hospital represents a significant advancement in the field of orthopaedic surgery in the Lowveld, as it provides surgeons with greater precision in replacement surgery and this helps to improve patient outcomes. Additionally, orthopaedic robotics have enabled rapid recovery pathways that could result in same-day discharge or patients spending only one night in the hospital.
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