Robotic versus Manual Knee Replacement Surgery: Comparing Outcomes and Costs

A new study finds using surgical robots during total knee replacement surgery improves outcomes, but at a cost.

A new study has found that total knee replacements (TKRs) are more successful when performed with the assistance of a surgical robot. Currently, most TKRs are completed manually, with surgeons using their training and experience to determine how much bone to remove. However, a growing number of these procedures are being done with the help of surgical robots. These robots utilize pre-operative imaging to identify anatomical markers for cutting.

Researchers compared the accuracy, safety, and outcomes of approximately half a million patients who received conventional TKRs with more than 177,000 patients who underwent robotic TKRs. The results indicated that patients who had robotic knee replacements experienced shorter hospital stays and fewer complications, such as infections, blood loss, fractures, dislocations, or mechanical complications.

Despite these benefits, there is one potential drawback: the robotic procedure costs, on average, an additional $2,400. However, the lead author suggests that the robotic surgeries may be more cost-effective when factoring in savings from reduced complications. He also notes that as the population continues to age, there will be a greater demand for safe and effective total knee replacement surgery.

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