Robot technology gets you back to the things you love, faster

PETALING JAYA: Having robotic-arm assisted bilateral knee replacement surgery was the best decision Datuk Kaur Nam Ngum made after six years of chronic pain.

Kaur, who had to bend her knee after every 50m walk pre-op, is now back to leading an active lifestyle, filled with adventure travel, golf outings and more.

“I no longer hesitate to go out, worried that I will fall or need assistance to walk long distances. And it’s all thanks to modern medical technology that has made my life better,” said Kaur, who now walks pain-free (like normal) and was discharged from the hospital three days after the knee replacement.

Sharing a similar experience is Wong Lian See, who likes to take her grandchildren out for walks in the park, listen to their laughter as she accompanies them during playtime, and has robot-arm assisted bilateral hip replacement surgery that eliminates pain and discomfort — and that allows her to walk and be herself. Forbidden to engage in pleasurable activities.

“I could walk again without assistance or a walker a week after surgery,” Wong said. “Now everything in my life is back to normal and I can carry my grandchildren around. I am also planning to travel, which I thought was impossible before.

Kaur and Wong were guest speakers last Saturday at Star Media Group’s hybrid webinar titled “Take Control of Your Hip or Knee Pain and Get Active Again.”

They shared their painful experiences before the robot-arm assisted hip and knee replacement surgeries as well as their quick recovery procedures.

“Recovery (from knee replacement) was easy. Just listen to your body, don’t force the healing process by going for aggressive physiotherapy. All I did was attend physiotherapy and give time and patience for the tissue to heal,” said Kaur, while Wong said she felt completely normal. She practiced walking daily until she did.

Featuring Dr Chua Hwa Sen, Consultant Orthopedic, Joint and Arthroplasty Surgeon at Sunway Medical Centre, the webinar highlighted the common symptoms, causes and treatment of hip or knee pain as well as the latest robotic technology in hip and knee replacement surgery.

While the majority of people, especially the older demographic, believe that hip or knee pain is a condition that comes naturally with age, and do not seek medical help to treat their condition, the result is reduced mobility and reduced quality of life. In the long term, there are surgical treatment options that can get people back on their feet with minimal to no pain.

Chua said Sunway Medical Center brought robotic technology to Malaysia last year to enable knee and hip replacements to be performed as robot-arm assisted surgeries, greatly increasing the accuracy, success and recovery rate of surgery.

Chua explained in his outline that the treatment begins with CT-based 3D modeling to help surgeons visualize each patient’s anatomy before surgery to create an individualized surgical plan.

Stating that robotic arms will not operate, he said that the work of the robot during the operation can enable the surgeon to determine the appropriate location for the transplant.

“The robot will accurately collect data – data that our naked eyes cannot detect. It can distinguish degrees as small as 0.75mm and as small as 0.5 degrees.

“This allows surgeons to work with a high degree of precision and accuracy, helping patients keep their healthy bones while at the same time protecting their tissues and ligaments.

More importantly, optimal placement and alignment of the hip or knee implant also helps enhance the feeling of a natural hip or natural knee,” said Chua.

He added that patients now experience minimal pain, have shorter hospital stays, recover more quickly and benefit from a greater chance of returning to light day-to-day activities three weeks after robot-arm assisted surgery.

“There are very few complications that arise from surgery, both in the short and long term.”

Chua advises people suffering from severe and persistent hip or knee pain that restricts mobility to immediately consult an orthopedic doctor and look for the option of hip or knee replacement surgery with robotic technology.

“However, not all cases require surgery. It’s on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

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