THE world’s first research programme dedicated to measuring the success rates of hip replacements performed by robotic-assisted arm surgery is taking place in Bournemouth.

Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital and Bournemouth University (BU) have partnered to head up the research following a £200k grant by the world’s leading medical technology company, Stryker.

The private hospital is one of the first hospitals in the UK to invest in robotic-assisted technology. The Mako robotic-arm technology started providing hip replacements to Nuffield Health’s Bournemouth patients this month, led by orthopaedic consultant Professor Robert Middleton - the head of the Orthopaedic Research Institute at BU.

This is the first time worldwide that an in-depth analysis of the physical and economic benefits of using robotic-assisted technology in hip replacements will be undertaken.

Professor Middleton, said: “I was first trained in robotic-assisted surgery 20 years ago. The Mako technology is now at a level where patients are seeing a true benefit of receiving robotic-assisted surgery. As a professor and an orthopaedic consultant, not only did I want to perform hip replacements using robotic technology to the highest standard, but I wanted to prove the benefits of using this technology over current standard practices so all can benefit in the future.”

Professor Middleton will see patients before operating and then up to one year after at Bournemouth University’s Grail Gait Lab. The facility has state-of-the-art equipment including a 180-degree screen where medical professionals can take a deeper look at a patient’s gait or walk, and as they swerve, jump and kick animated objects will appear on screen.

Professor Middleton added: “Patients in the UK and Bournemouth will see a multitude of benefits from receiving robotic-assisted arm surgery including a quicker, less painful recovery and a longer lasting implant. A hip replacement is the most common surgery conducted in the UK and, by improving this procedure, patients will have the opportunity to get back on their feet and back to work quicker, as well as competitive sport.”

Professor John Fletcher, pro vice-chancellor, research and Innovation at Bournemouth University, said: “This partnership will bring real benefits, not just to Dorset and the UK, but globally, as we work together to drive forward innovation and improvements in medical science.”