State-of-the-art robot slashes recovery times at Burnside


Patients undergoing knee procedures at Burnside Hospital can now expect to spend less time recovering.

Burnside recently became the first hospital in South Australia – and just the seventh in Australia – to install state-of-the-art haptic robotic technology.

The technology gives orthopaedic surgeons the opportunity to offer robotic-assisted partial knee replacements with significant benefits to suitable patients.

The robot reduces a patient’s recovery time by about four weeks, and most people are up and walking just a day after surgery.

Dr Robert Fassina is one of three orthopaedic surgeons to have used the robot. He said the system also dramatically reduces post-operative pain.

“[Patients] are able to get back to their normal activities within a week to two weeks of surgery,” Dr Fassina said.

Before surgery, a CT scan is taken of the patient’s knee to create a 3D image for the robot and surgeon to work with.

The robot guides the surgeon’s hand during surgery through visual, audio and sensory feedback, ensuring only damaged bone and tissue is removed.

“It sets up an area which looks at the diseased portion inside a patient’s arthritic knee,” Dr Fassina said.

“It allows us to place…the joint replacement components in a more accurate and precise position.”

Surgeons at Burnside have used the robot to operate on 10 patients, one of whom is Linda Wurfel.

Ms Wurfel said it was hard to believe she was walking within two weeks of her right knee being replaced.

“I’m just walking the same as anybody else,” she said.

“I went into the bathroom with the frame, walked out to go to something else and thought, ‘I’ve forgotten the frame’. I had to go back in and get it, so I really didn’t even need it.”

Burnside Hospital chief executive Heather Messenger said the robotic system is a valuable addition to the hospital’s successful orthopaedic program.

“This proved, leading technology complements our range of orthopaedic treatment options,” Ms Messenger said.

“It affirms Burnside Hospital as a centre of excellence for orthopaedic surgery in Adelaide.”


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