Thai hospital is regional pioneer in robotic knee surgery

Siriraj Hospital has become the first medical facility in Southeast Asia to provide robotic surgery for patients with partial knee-joint problems.

"We are the first in Southeast Asia to use a robot to perform knee-joint surgery," Dr Udom Kachintorn said yesterday in his capacity as the dean of Mahidol University's faculty of medicine at Siriraj Hospital. This facility is a part of the medical school.

Udom said the innovative technique offered great accuracy and allowed patients to recuperate faster because it involves a very small surgical wound.

Associate Professor Dr Keerati Charoencholvanich, who works for the medical school, explained that the robot comprised a set of mechanical arms and a 3D camera, the two machines being coordinated by a processor.

"With the robot, we can adjust surgical incisions by 0.2 millimetre each time," he said.

Keerati said the robotic surgical procedure allowed patients to bend their knees between 120 and 130 degrees, a range that is very close to that of healthy people.

"Patients recuperate from the surgery quickly. Within the first day of their surgery, they will be able to sit and even walk," he said.

The robotic surgery is still only useful for patients with partial knee-joint problems. "If the whole knee joint degenerates, this surgery is not an option," he said.

Knee-joint problems are quite common among elderly people. Not only do such conditions affect their daily lives, they also discourage them from working out, which can lead to many other diseases such as diabetes.

To celebrate its 48th anniversary, the orthopaedic surgery department of the medical school will provide robotic surgery for 48 patients with partial knee-joint problems at a special discount.

Interested patients can contact the hospital at (02) 418 2215.

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