Robotic-arm assisted versus conventional medial unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: five-year clinical outcomes of a randomized controlled trial

Matthew Banger, James Doonan, Philip Rowe, Bryn Jones, Angus MacLean, Mark J. B. Blyth

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AIMS: Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) is a bone-preserving treatment option for osteoarthritis localized to a single compartment in the knee. The success of the procedure is sensitive to patient selection and alignment errors. Robotic arm-assisted UKA provides technological assistance to intraoperative bony resection accuracy, which is thought to improve ligament balancing. This paper presents the five-year outcomes of a comparison between manual and robotically assisted UKAs. METHODS: The trial design was a prospective, randomized, parallel, single-centre study comparing surgical alignment in patients undergoing UKA for the treatment of medial compartment osteoarthritis (ISRCTN77119437). Participants underwent surgery using either robotic arm-assisted surgery or conventional manual instrumentation. The primary outcome measure (surgical accuracy) has previously been reported, and, along with secondary outcomes, were collected at one-, two-, and five-year timepoints. Analysis of five-year results and longitudinal analysis for all timepoints was performed to compare the two groups. RESULTS: Overall, 104 (80%) patients of the original 130 who received surgery were available at five years (55 robotic, 49 manual). Both procedures reported successful results over all outcomes. At five years, there were no statistical differences between the groups in any of the patient reported or clinical outcomes. There was a lower reintervention rate in the robotic arm-assisted group with 0% requiring further surgery compared with six (9%) of the manual group requiring additional surgical intervention (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: This study has shown excellent clinical outcomes in both groups with no statistical or clinical differences in the patient-reported outcome measures. The notable difference was the lower reintervention rate at five years for roboticarm-assisted UKA when compared with a manual approach. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(6):1088-1095.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1095
Number of pages8
JournalThe Bone and Joint Journal
Issue number6
Early online date1 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2021


  • knee arthroplasty
  • clinical outcome
  • randomised controlled trial


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