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'Robot could simplify hip operations'

'Robot could simplify hip operations'
12th February 2008

A new surgical robot could make hip operations a much simpler procedure.

This is the opinion of researchers at Imperial College London, who have developed a new machine which could enable students to perform the complicated procedure with relative ease.

Initial trials of the Wayfinder robot show that untrained students are able to conduct 'virtual' operations with a high degree of accuracy.

The 32 participants were all able to resurface the ball of a model hip joint using the robot – which senses the movement of surgical tools and compares it to detailed images of the bones.

It then plots where surgical incisions should be made and calculates the correct angles for inserting the parts needed to repair the hip bone.

"This could significantly improve a patient's health and wellbeing and ensure they do not have to undergo repeat operations," stated Professor Justin Cobb, head of the Biosurgery and Surgical Technology Group at Imperial College London.

Further trials are currently being carried out in four UK hospitals.

Up to 5,000 hip resurfacing operations are carried out in the UK each year.

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