A NORTH-EAST hospital has become the first in the region to perform a joint replacement operation using an innovative Robotic system.

The surgeon who has been using the new technology gives us his impressions…

Hello Mr Webb, please could you introduce yourself?

I’m James Webb, and I’m a consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at BMI Woodlands Hospital, in Darlington. I qualified in 1999, and I’ve been a consultant since 2004.

What is your role at the hospital?

I specialise in hip and knee replacement, as well as soft tissue and trauma surgery.

Can you please tell us little about this new technology, and about how are you utilising it?

This technology is properly called the Mako® robotic-arm assisted surgical system, and it’s a system for planning and performing robot-assisted operations.

It combines planning and navigation software with a surgeon-guided robotic arm. We use a CT scan to create a 3D scan of the affected joint, which the Mako® uses to determine the optimum placement and alignment of the artificial components.

I then guide the robotic arm to remove damaged tissue and install the new implant.

How many surgeries have you performed using the Mako®?

Since it arrived in July, we’ve used the Mako® to perform two operation: a partial knee replacement and a full knee replacement. We’ve been so impressed by the results that we plan to also use it during an upcoming hip replacement surgery.

Why is this better than traditional surgery techniques?

With the robot, we can be more precise than ever before. It’s so exact that I can cut within half a millimetre of the target spot – a degree of precision impossible to achieve without computer assistance.

What’s more, the robot is incapable of cutting soft tissues, such as blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, or nerves, and will only remove the required bone tissue, rendering the operation extremely safe.

What is the impact on patients?

It means faster recovery times, significantly less pain, and a much quicker return to a normal level of mobility. This technology is a complete game-changer. It revolutionises the recovery pathway for joint replacement surgery.

Early results are extremely promising. Following the full knee replacement we performed using Mako®, the patient was pain-free and walking within two weeks. With the partial knee replacement, they were up and about the following day.

Studies suggest that 9 out of 10 patients requiring a full knee replacement will be able to walk unaided within three weeks, and that 85 per cent of patients will be able to return to work with six weeks.

Why is this so important?

People want to stay active following joint surgery these days – they don’t want to give up their golf, or tennis, or whatever, because of an operation, and so we’re delighted we can now offer a solution.

What is your overall opinion of this new technology?

I think it’s wonderful that BMI have taken such a leap forward with this technology and have invested heavily in the future of better care for patients. I hope that robotic-assisted surgery will become the standard way of doing this manner of operation.

Thanks for your time.

BMI Woodlands hospital currently has 3 consultants who are fully trained in Robot Assisted Surgery:

  • Mr James Webb
  • Mr Andrew Port
  • Mr Craig White

To find out more information or to book a consultation with one of these consultants, please call Mark Bythway, Patient Liaison Officer for BMI Woodlands Hospital Darlington, on 01325 341784.


BMI Woodlands Hospital - Private Hospital Darlington | BMI Healthcare UK

Morton Park, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 4PL


The BMI Woodlands Hospital is a private hospital in Darlington, County Durham run by BMI Healthcare, the UK's largest independent provider of private healthcare. Find out more about our hospital & treatments here.

Information is also available on the Facebook page - BMI Woodlands Hospital