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Researcher wins prestigious EFORT award for paper on pioneering knee surgery trial

View of John Anderson Campus from the north

A University of Strathclyde biomedical engineer has received a prestigious award for a paper on a pioneering robotic knee surgery trial.

Dr Matthew Banger has won the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (EFORT) Free Paper Gold Award in Orthopaedics for 2019.

Project lead, Professor Philip Rowe from the University of Strathclyde said:” We’re delighted that the study and Dr Banger have received this recognition.”

Biomedical engineer Dr Banger delivered his paper : ‘Five Years of a Randomised Trial of Robotic Arm Assisted versus Manual Surgery’  at the annual EFORT Conference in Lisbon and was also awarded a €1,500 cash prize.

 Dr. Philippe Neyret - incoming president of EFORT, presents Dr Matthew Banger with his award at the annual conference in Lisbon in June 2019

The paper outlines the five year outcomes of a study underway at Glasgow Royal Infirmary which uses a revolutionary Stryker Mako robotic-arm system to help carry out knee surgery.

It is a collaboration between surgeons, Strathclyde bio-engineers and US health care company Stryker Mako and has tracked 140 patients over five years.

Dr Banger said: "I am delighted to accept the award on behalf of the whole project team, including the clinicians at the Royal.

“Running randomised controlled trials for medical devices can be quite a difficult thing to do and not many people do it. You have to have the infrastructure to set it up so it has to be scientifically robust and you have to be comparing two different types of procedures.

“The NHS system in Scotland means we can track people relatively well and see how they are doing and people are generally pretty good at volunteering for studies.”

Compared outcomes

The study compared the outcomes on patients who underwent the experimental surgery and those who had the traditional knee replacement surgery.

With the robotic surgery, images of the patient's knee are loaded into software which controls the robot's movements and sensors are placed on the patient's knee to tell the robot its exact position.

Results were compared with the UK ‘gold standard’ the Oxford knee implant, which revolutionised orthopaedic surgery as one of the most successful and widely used partial knee replacements in the world.

Dr Banger added: “The study had two groups of patients, one who underwent robotic surgery and the other manual surgery – the standard of care they would have had anyway when they came into the hospital.

“We generally showed that early on there were differences they could see but by the time they got to five years the differences had narrowed and there wasn’t as much difference between the two groups.”

Professor Rowe added: “The study shows there were small but significant improvements and people who had the robotic surgery have better functionality, get back on their feet quicker, have shorter hospital stays and less analgesics.”

EFORT is the European Federation of 45 national orthopaedic associations promoting the exchange of scientific knowledge and experience