It’s an achievement that saw medics around the world take note. The Australian Institute of Robotic Orthopaedics Pty Ltd (AIRO) has successfully developed and tested a prototype robot-assisted bone burr system that allows active, navigated milling of bone during joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty).
The revolutionary system used computer-controlled navigation and a state-of-the-art collaborative robot arm to deploy a conventional powered mechanical bone-cutting burr. The robotic arm has seven degrees of freedom and is guided using proprietary computer code, developed in-house. (see video below)
“Through this project it was evident that there was a clear discrepancy between the advanced technology of the robotic arm and the powered mechanical surgical burr.” said AIRO Managing Director and CEO Associate Professor Brett Robertson. “We could see immediately that these traditional powered tools lack sub-millimetre precision, cause unnecessary damage to the bone tissue due to the transfer of heat, vibrations, and mechanical stress, and produce uneven bone surfaces with gaps large enough to affect how neatly a joint implant could fit to the cut bone surface.’
“So while a number of valuable real-world insights were gained through this test,” Professor Robertson continued, “The AIRO team has quickly moved on to more advanced and accurate laser bone-cutting technology. And that’s where the truly game-changing breakthroughs are now happening for us.”
Following this trial, AIRO is now fully focused on the rapid development of its proprietary laser system that is intelligently-controlled, robotically-assisted and high-powered. The goal is to safely deliver sub-millimetre precision cutting and unparalleled bone shaping, to transform orthopaedic practice and improve patient outcomes.
With millions of people worldwide still enduring joint replacement surgery the traditional way, these remarkable innovations can’t come soon enough.
Learn more about the limitations of current powered mechanical cutting tools: Limitations of Current Osteotomy Tools