Threemiletown woman is the first NHS patient to receive robotic surgery

Caroline Ramsay was Scotland's first NHS patient to have a procedure done using the Mako robot as a routine surgery.
Caroline Ramsay was Scotland's first NHS patient to have a procedure done using the Mako robot as a routine surgery.

A woman from Threemiletown has become the first NHS patient in Scotland to undergo surgery carried out by a robot.

Caroline Ramsay (61) had the partial knee replacement surgery recently at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank.

The national hospital, which currently carries out over 25 per cent of all Scottish hip and knee replacements, anticipates that 300 patients will benefit from the robotic procedure in the first year.

Compared to non-robotic surgery, NHS Golden Jubilee says patients will benefit from greater implant accuracy, reduced soft tissue damage and blood loss.

Caroline, who was having her fourth joint replacement, said: “I feel quite privileged to have been offered it on the NHS, as there has been robotic surgery done privately. So I feel quite privileged to be the first in Scotland.

“All you hear is doom and gloom about the NHS so this is a positive news.”

The Mako robot builds a virtual 3D model of each patient’s anatomy based on a pre-operative CT scan, which is then validated by live intra-operative measurements. The surgeon is then able to fine-tune the position of each component to work best for each patient. The robotic arm is then used to make precise cuts according to the surgical plan, which conserves bone.

Sheltered housing manager Caroline hopes the robotic surgery will mean she can get back to work quicker.

She said: “It was ok I think. It’s now just been a case of being at home doing exercises.

“I have had two hip replacements and a knee replacement by traditional methods. I do feel it’s not as swollen and mobility is easier than it was in the past.

“Time will tell if it’s going to be better. I’m hoping the recovery time is quicker so I will be back to work quicker.

“Last time it was four months, so I’m hoping for half that this time.”

Initially concentrating on knee replacements, the plan is that the robot will also be used for hip replacements in the near future.

Mark MacGregor, NHS Golden Jubilee’s medical director, said: “There is already some evidence that the longer term outcomes may be superior with robotic-arm assisted surgery.

“The introduction of robotics, the scale of the Golden Jubilee orthopaedic service, combined with the expertise in clinical research means that NHS Golden Jubilee should be well placed to lead on future research in this emerging new field of robotic arthroplasty – benefitting patients across Scotland and beyond.”