How long does image based robotic total knee arthroplasty take during the learning phase? Analysis of the key steps from the first fifty cases

Int Orthop. 2023 Feb;47(2):437-446. doi: 10.1007/s00264-022-05618-4. Epub 2022 Nov 10.


Introduction: Robotically assisted total knee arthroplasty (RA-TKA) is an emerging surgical tool. The purpose of this study was to analyze the length of time taken to perform the key steps of a RA-TKA for a surgeon and centre new to the MAKO robotic system.

Method: This was a prospective cohort study of the first 50 patients undergoing TKA using a robotic platform (Mako, Stryker, Kalamazoo, MI, USA) performed by a single surgeon. Each key surgical step was recorded. The first 50 patients were chronologically allocated into five groups of ten and compared.

Results: Mean operation length was 59.4 ± 7.4 min with significant improvement after 30 cases. A significant effect on certain steps of the surgery also occurred over 50 cases: after 30 cases for pre-operative planning (3.8 min in group 1 versus 1.2 min in group 4, p < 0.005), ten cases for registration time (5.2 min in group 1 versus 3.8 in group 2, p = 0.039) and ten cases for tibial cutting time (1.6 min in group 1 versus 1.3 in group 2, p < 0.005). Nurse setup, femur cutting, and intraoperative planning did not demonstrate a significant improvement in time over 50 cases.

Conclusion: A significant decrease in total operating length occurred after the 30th case. Anatomical registration and tibial cutting time demonstrated the largest improvements. MAKO image-based robotically assisted TKA is not a time-intensive intervention for both the surgeon and scrub nursing staff, and significant improvements in total surgical time occurs early in the learning phase.

Keywords: Learning curve; Operative time; Robotics; TKA; Total knee arthroplasty; Total knee replacement.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee* / methods
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Robotics*