A Nova Scotia surgeon completed Canada’s first robot-assisted hip replacement at Dartmouth General Hospital (DGH).
“This is adding a level of accuracy and precision that we’ve never been able to achieve before,” Dr. Jennifer Leighton said in Friday’s announcement.
“This is going to be groundbreaking, not just for Nova Scotians, but for all of Canada.”
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Leighton performed the first surgery with the Mako SmartRobotics system in November 2022 and has now performed many hip and knee replacement surgeries on patients in the Halifax area.
The Mako robot is being used to better specify procedures on the bodies of each patient, adapting them for differences attributed to gender and ethnicity.
“Our ability to plan in 3D before and during surgery to accommodate a patient’s bony anatomy, their ligaments, their soft tissue, and how their joint moves in space, that’s something we’ve never been able to do with a 2-D X-ray. ”said the orthopedic surgeon.
A recent patient for knee replacement surgery at DGH using the Mako robot, Helen Young, told Global News that she was out of surgery and headed home in six hours.
“It was a smooth process,” Young said.
The new technology will be used to increase patient satisfaction and decrease pain, swelling, length of stay, and the need for narcotics.
Leighton says the robot allows for an extra degree of precision in his work, which he hopes will reduce the rate of revision surgeries.
“Those redo surgeries put a huge load on the system,” Leighton said.
“They take at least twice as long compared to a first surgery. They stay in the hospital for several days compared to going home the same day or the next morning. And a huge burden on the patient in terms of recovery, risk and complications that can occur.”
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As of November 2022, 90% of hip replacement surgery patients at DGH received the service within 472 days, faster than the 637 days in which 90% of all Nova Scotia patients received the service.
For knee replacements, 90 percent of DGH patients received the service within 616 days compared to a 727-day wait for 90 percent of all Nova Scotians.
As the only province in Canada with two orthopedic robots and a strong research program behind it, Leighton says Nova Scotia will have a strong presence in the robotics space, nationally and internationally.
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