Meet Boris, a robotic arm helping surgeons at Exeter Nuffield

Robotic arm Boris cuts a very precise slice of cake for surgeons Jonathan Phillips, Jonathan Howell,

Robotic arm Boris cuts a very precise slice of cake for surgeons Jonathan Phillips, Jonathan Howell, Andrew Toms and Keith Eyres - Credit: Archant

A robotic arm nicknamed Boris is helping surgeons at a Devon hospital achieve outstanding results

Exeter Nuffield is leading the way in innovative orthopaedic surgery. The hospital's expert surgeons, world-renowned in their field, have completed more hip and knee replacements using the Stryker Mako robotic arm than any other group of surgeons in the UK.

This month the 500th patient will be treated using the robotic arm. This milestone coincides with the second anniversary of the installation of the robotic arm, affectionately nicknamed 'Boris' by Exeter surgeons.

They celebrated by commissioning a special cake to wish 'Boris' a happy birthday and to thank colleagues working in theatres and on wards for their work in caring for and rehabilitating their patients.

Nuffield Health Exeter Hospital is the only hospital in the South West to have robotic arm technology and one of only 10 hospitals in the entire UK. The pioneering Mako robotic arm allows the latest generation of hip and knee replacements to be inserted with even greater accuracy.

You may be aware that Exeter is internationally famous in the joint replacement world. The Exeter Hip, created in 1970, is the most implanted and successfully cemented hip stem in the world. More recently Exeter Nuffield Consultant Professor Andrew Toms was cited as the best knee replacement surgeon in the UK in a Daily Mail poll and Exeter Nuffield was revealed as one of the best hospitals in the UK for hip replacements.

Stryker Mako robotic arm assisted technology is the only robotic arm designed for use with orthopaedics, it assists partial knee replacement, total knee replacement and total hip replacement. Potential benefits include:

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- Better clinical outcomes; less chance of revision

- Quicker recovery for the patient; more mobile, more quickly

- Greater patient satisfaction

- Less pain for the patient

Hip and knee replacements are some of the most common types of operation performed in the UK, meaning that improved outcomes have the potential to make a big difference to a large number of patients.

Orthopaedic surgeon Mr Keith Eyres, says: "From my perspective, robotic arm assisted surgery is the pinnacle of what the industry can offer us as surgeons to support the accuracy of what we do. Accuracy means faster recovery, a higher chance of a joint returning to normal function and a new joint that lasts longer.

"The level of accuracy we are able to achieve with the Mako is as close to perfection as is possible, which means patients are more mobile more quickly."

Professor John Timperley adds: "The Mako improves accuracy by importing a CT scan of the patient joint before the operation.

"Numerous site markers are overlaid onto the scan, effectively creating a 3D map of the joint, which the surgeon can then easily navigate and with the robots assistance perform the procedure with pin point accuracy."

Why choose Nuffield?

- Exeter Nuffield is in the top three hospitals nationally for hip replacements

- The 'Exeter Hip' was invented by Professor Robin Ling, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Clive Lee, a University of Exeter professor of engineering

- The Exeter Knee Reconstruction Unit team was a finalist at the British Medical Journal Awards for Surgical Team of the Year 2017

- Mr Vipul Mandalia is the Exeter Chiefs knee surgeon and specialises in sports injuries

- Professor Andrew Toms topped the list of knee replacement surgeons in the Daily Mail Good Doctors Guide 2018