This study sought to evaluate the patient experience and short-term clinical outcomes associated with the hospital stay of patients who underwent robotic arm-assisted total knee arthroplasty (TKA). These results were compared with a cohort of patients who underwent TKA without robotic assistance performed by the same surgeon prior to the introduction of this technology.
A cohort of consecutive patients undergoing primary TKA for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis by a single fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon over a 39-month period was identified. Patients who underwent TKA during the year that this surgeon transitioned his entire knee arthroplasty practice to robotic assistance were excluded to eliminate selection bias and control for the learning curve. All patients received the same prosthesis and postoperative pain protocol. Patients that required intubation for failed spinal anesthetic were excluded. A final population of 492 TKAs was identified. Of these, 290 underwent TKA without robotic assistance and 202 underwent robotic arm-assisted TKA. Patient demographic characteristics and short-term clinical data were analyzed.
Robotic arm-assisted TKA was associated with shorter length of stay (2.3 vs. 2.6 days, < 0.001), a 50% reduction in morphine milligram equivalent utilization (from 214 to 103, < 0.001), and a mean increase in procedure time of 9.3 minutes ( < 0.001). There was one superficial infection in the nonrobotic cohort and there were no deep postoperative infections in either cohort. There were no manipulations under anesthesia in the robotic cohort while there were six in the nonrobotic cohort. Additionally, there were no significant differences in emergency department visits, readmissions, or return to the operating room.
This analysis corroborates existing literature suggesting that robotic arm-assisted TKA can be correlated with improved short-term clinical outcomes. This study reports on a single surgeon’s experience with regard to analgesic requirements, length of stay, pain scores, and procedure time following a complete transition to robotic arm-assisted TKA. These results underscore the importance of continued evaluation of clinical outcomes as robotic arthroplasty technology continues to grow.
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