• Ribera is committed to innovation in traumatology with the acquisition of a robot that allows personalised surgery with greater precision.
  • No other hospital in the province of Alicante has this technology for Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, which is performed in only a few centres in Spain.
  • This programme digitally reconstructs the patient’s knee to provide the surgical team with real-time information on the patient’s anatomy.

The Hospital Universitario del Vinalopó, managed by the Ribera health group, has incorporated robotic surgery in the Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology service to implant knee prostheses more precisely, thereby reducing tissue damage. This is the first centre in the province of Alicante to develop this technique in traumatology, which is carried out in only a few hospitals in Spain due to its high level of specialisation. Ribera has opted for this technology that can verify in the same surgical act that the position of the implants is as perfect as possible. This advance means less postoperative pain for the patient, less surgical time, better recovery and greater durability of the implant.

The team of surgeons who have carried out the first interventions, formed by doctors Paulino Sanchez, Emilio Bascuñana and David Fernández, from the Reconstructive Joint Surgery Unit of the Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology Service, assures that the application of this technology provides a great leap in quality in the implantation of knee prostheses, since the precision in the placement of the implant is directly related to better mobility, less pain and greater durability. “The assistance of the robot provides us with real-time information to improve the precision of our gestures during surgery,” says Dr. Sánchez.

Robotic-assisted surgery, which has been widely developed over the last few years, represents a turning point in orthopaedic and prosthetic surgery as we know it today, and has become one of the major advances in this field of surgery and medicine in our country.

Innovative technology

This new technique is based on intraoperative navigation technology widely applied in other specialties such as neurosurgery, in this case using specific software for knee prosthesis implants. This programme digitally reconstructs the patient’s knee to provide the surgical team with real-time information on the patient’s anatomy and makes it possible to plan the exact model, size and position of the definitive implant, all digitally as the operation is being performed, thus avoiding having to carry out the different implant adjustment tests that are carried out in traditional techniques. It also allows high-precision automated bone resections, which reduces to a minimum any possible variation between the planned and the final placement of the real implant.

Early recovery and increased durability

Thanks to this technique, patients who have undergone surgery at the Vinalopó University Hospital for a knee prosthesis assisted by robotic navigation have been able to walk with aids on the same day of the operation, thus greatly shortening the recovery period. What’s more, all of them were discharged from hospital without complications within 24 hours. “Reducing tissue damage during surgery is key to avoiding bleeding, pain and making the patient’s recovery much faster and more pleasant, and patients notice this,” explains Dr Bascuñana.

Three-dimensional reconstruction technology using the robotic navigation system helps to reduce tissue injury by allowing only the necessary surgical gestures to be performed and avoids most of the intermediate steps of conventional techniques for implant selection and positioning.

With this system, it is possible to know in advance what the best position will be and to carry out digital dynamic tests to assess how it will behave in the future. All this results in the final implant being placed in the best possible position for the most accurate functioning, which extends the durability of the prosthesis and thus patient satisfaction. “Robotic navigation has meant that we have more information and more precision during surgery. We can now place prostheses that are completely customised for each patient,” Dr Fernández explained.

Customised prostheses

The planning of this state-of-the-art system goes beyond current systems as it not only provides precision to the surgeon, but also allows the definitive implant to be planned based on the type and shape of the patient’s bone, as well as being able to assess the tension of the knee ligaments, a fact that until now had not been possible to evaluate with other planning systems. This allows greater personalisation of the surgery as the implant can be perfectly adjusted to the bone, as well as maintaining the patient’s ligamentous anatomy perfectly intact, thus ensuring that the functioning of the implant is truly balanced, providing greater stability and less discomfort.