Improved Accuracy of Component Positioning with Robotic-Assisted Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty: Data from a Prospective, Randomized Controlled Study

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016 Apr 20;98(8):627-35. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.15.00664.


Background: Higher revision rates have been reported in patients who have undergone unicompartmental knee arthroplasty compared with patients who have undergone total knee arthroplasty, with poor component positioning identified as a factor in implant failure. A robotic-assisted surgical procedure has been proposed as a method of improving the accuracy of component implantation in arthroplasty. The aim of this prospective, randomized, single-blinded, controlled trial was to evaluate the accuracy of component positioning in unicompartmental knee arthroplasty comparing robotic-assisted and conventional implantation techniques.

Methods: One hundred and thirty-nine patients were randomly assigned to treatment with either a robotic-assisted surgical procedure using the MAKO Robotic Interactive Orthopaedic Arm (RIO) system or a conventional surgical procedure using the Oxford Phase-3 unicompartmental knee replacement with traditional instrumentation. A postoperative computed tomographic scan was performed at three months to assess the accuracy of the axial, coronal, and sagittal component positioning.

Results: Data were available for 120 patients, sixty-two who had undergone robotic-assisted unicompartmental knee arthroplasty and fifty-eight who had undergone conventional unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. Intraobserver agreement was good for all measured component parameters. The accuracy of component positioning was improved with the use of the robotic-assisted surgical procedure, with lower root mean square errors and significantly lower median errors in all component parameters (p < 0.01). The proportion of patients with component implantation within 2° of the target position was significantly greater in the group who underwent robotic-assisted unicompartmental knee arthroplasty compared with the group who underwent conventional unicompartmental knee arthroscopy with regard to the femoral component sagittal position (57% compared with 26%, p = 0.0008), femoral component coronal position (70% compared with 28%, p = 0.0001), femoral component axial position (53% compared with 31%, p = 0.0163), tibial component sagittal position (80% compared with 22%, p = 0.0001), and tibial component axial position (48% compared with 19%, p = 0.0009).

Conclusions: Robotic-assisted surgical procedures with the use of the MAKO RIO lead to improved accuracy of implant positioning compared with conventional unicompartmental knee arthroplasty surgical techniques.

Level of evidence: Therapeutic Level I. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Improvement
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Single-Blind Method