Does robotic-assisted surgery improve outcomes of total hip arthroplasty compared to manual technique? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Postgrad Med J. 2021 Dec 17;postgradmedj-2021-141135. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2021-141135. Online ahead of print.


Background: Robot-assisted total hip arthroplasty (THA) is an emerging technology that claims to position implants with very high accuracy. However, there is currently limited data in literature on whether this improved accuracy leads to better long-term clinical outcomes. This systematic review compares the outcomes of THA done with the help of robotic assistance (RA) to those done with conventional manual techniques (MTs).

Methods: Four electronic databases were searched for eligible articles that directly compared robot-assisted THA to manual THA and had data on the radiological or clinical outcomes of both. Data on various outcome parameters were collected. Meta-analysis was conducted using a random-effects model with 95% CIs.

Results: A total of 17 articles were found eligible for inclusion, and 3600 cases were analysed. Mean operating time in the RA group was significantly longer than in the MT group. RA resulted in significantly more acetabular cups being placed inside Lewinnek's and Callanan's safe zones (p<0.001) and had significantly reduced limb length discrepancy compared with MT. There were no statistically significant differences in the two groups in terms of incidence of perioperative complications, need for revision surgery and long-term functional outcome.

Conclusion: RA leads to highly accurate implant placement and leads to significantly reduced limb length discrepancies. However, the authors do not recommend robot-assisted techniques for routine THAs due to lack of adequate long-term follow-up data, prolonged surgical times and no significant differences in the rate of complications and implant survivorship compared with conventional MTs.

Publication types

  • Review