There is much hype about knee replacement design and technology these days as the demand for this surgery creates a huge market for implant sales across the globe. Implant companies are vying for the top spot in terms of luring patients toward their products with the hope of selling improved outcomes and faster recovery. The entrance of robotic technology into the joint replacement landscape has attracted many surgeons to the purported benefits of its improved precision for implant placement. Joint replacement surgeons, practices, and hospitals that employ robotics often go to great lengths to market this technology in hopes of attracting prospective patients who are smitten with the promise of next-generation computer-assisted advancement.
In reality, the most commonly used robotic system on the market (Makoplasty) uses an implant that has undergone little design modification since it was released in 2003. It is a noncustom implant with a limited array of sizes intended to fit the entire population. The robot professes to “customize” the placement of the implant relative to the patient’s anatomy, however, this type of precision may not work well if the implant does not fit the patient’s anatomy.
Conformis, on the other hand, enjoys the benefits of both custom fit and precision placement. It does not require the added time and cost of robotic technology to achieve the promise of better fit and better function. Each implant is custom made to fit each patient’s unique joint geometry and bone size and shape. Since form and function are tightly wed in the human body, a custom, patient-specific implant, placed in anatomic alignment has the highest likelihood of providing a more natural feel and a stable total knee. Patient-specific, 3D printed cutting blocks can achieve the same precision in implant placement as the robot with the need for additional time and cost to perform a robotic-assisted total knee.
Studies have shown that the Conformis knee resects less bone, requires fewer soft tissue releases, leads to faster recovery and better outcomes. When this is combined with our AVATAR recovery program, patients can enjoy the best of the best in terms of rapid recovery and return to function. Before you are sold on the precision of a robot, consider that precision is irrelevant if the implant does not fit properly. The value-proposition of a custom-made implant is hard to argue and Conformis is the only implant on the market that is truly custom made for the patient.