Publish date: 8 July 2022
Northumberland hospital first in North East to introduce hip replacement robot
A hospital in rural Northumberland is one of just five in the country with a new surgical robot as part of a medical trial into hip replacement surgery.
The world-first RACER-Hip Study has received £1million funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and, alongside the existing RACER-Knee study announced last year, will give new insight into the value of robotic assisted surgery in the NHS.
It is been jointly led by Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) in Birmingham.
The team is inviting patients from at least six NHS hospitals across England and Scotland to take part and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has taken delivery of one of the robots for the trial.
It has been installed at Hexham General Hospital and is the first time this service is available within the NHS for hip operations in the North East. The manufacturer of the robot, Stryker, is supporting the study costs meaning hospitals do not have to pay to take part.
Tim Petheram, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “The Mako robot aims to increase the accuracy of the hip replacements that we carry out, as they can be positioned to within a millimetre and a degree.
“For patients, we hope that this means that they feel better with their hip replacements and that they will last longer and have fewer complications or issues.
“We’re confident that it is safe and installs the replacements more accurately than the human equivalent, but what we don’t know is the effect it has on patient outcomes so the study will track progress at regular intervals up to 10 years after their operation.”
Equal numbers of participants will be randomised to have their hip replacement with the robot or by a human surgeon alone to find out which surgical technique results in better outcomes.
This will include asking questions about people’s ability to complete activities and their quality of life in the long term and will also find out which method provides the best value for the NHS.
This new surgical robot at Hexham is the third at Northumbria Healthcare following a £3.7million investment in two DaVinci Xi robots at North Tyneside General Hospital and the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.
RACER-Hip joins the RACER-Knee study which began recruitment 12 months ago and is helping answer the same questions for knee replacement surgery.
The RACER studies represent a substantial investment of more than £3million pounds by the NHS to help establish the effectiveness of robotic joint replacement surgery.
Leading professional bodies including the Royal College of Surgeons, British Hip Society and British Association of Knee Surgery all recognise the importance of and support the research initiative which will see the UK lead the way in research in robotic joint replacement surgery.
Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer, Northumbria Healthcare
Benjamin.O’Connell@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk or 07833 046680.