UAE: Meet the doctor behind 100 robot-assisted surgeries at Abu Dhabi hospital

Dr Conroy specialises in robotic-assisted hip, knee surgery, and has extensive experience in the field


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 7 Aug 2023, 8:35 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Aug 2023, 2:27 PM

UK-based Dr Jonathan Conroy has played an instrumental role in Abu Dhabi’s Healthpoint hospital reaching a milestone of conducting 100 robotic surgeries on patients, including teenagers and 84-year-olds.

It was a year ago that Dr Conroy, one of the most prominent orthopaedic robotic surgeons in the industry, brought the ‘Mako’ robotic arm by Stryker, a cutting-edge technology, to Healthpoint.

The technology can be used for total and partial knee, patellofemoral (pain around the kneecap), and hip replacements with greater accuracy, better outcomes, faster recovery, and less pain for patients in comparison to replacements done with traditional techniques.

Dr Conroy specialises in robotic-assisted hip and knee surgery, and has extensive experience, offering procedures such as arthroscopic hip surgery and standard joint replacements.

“I have got a special interest in robotics surgery. The implementation of robotics has led, in my experience, to a quicker recovery for patients. They get discharged home sooner. They need less pain medications,” said Dr Conroy, orthopaedic surgeon at Healthpoint – a M42 company.

The orthopaedic robotic arm-assisted surgery technique allows surgeons to prepare for joint replacement operations with more precision and accuracy. After a patient undergoes a CT scan, a 3D model is generated using digital technology that can be viewed from all angles on a computer screen.

This innovative technology provides a unique opportunity for the surgeon to visualise and anticipate how the hip or knee joint will functionally move. By assessing the joint replacement before surgery, the medical team can determine the optimal surgical approach to take. This ensures that the surgical plan is thoroughly modeled and evaluated before any procedure is performed.

The first patient to be treated using the technology was a man with complex knee pathology.

“We were able to do that easily with the robotics system. Something that would have been very difficult for a surgeon to calculate during the surgery. It was a difficult case to get the correct alignment. The robot allowed us to make very precise and accurate cuts to get his malformed knee to a straight position. So, we have seen exceptional outcomes with this system,” Dr Conroy noted.

A game changer

Omar Al Naqbi, the executive director of Healthpoint, underlined that robotic arm-assisted surgery is a great achievement and a game changer.

“Healthpoint will continue to monitor the market for new technologies that have the potential to improve the overall patient experience. This milestone serves as another achievement in our ongoing journey to deliver excellence in all aspects of care to our patients, and to bring world-class healthcare closer to home.”

In addition to treating several patients in the emirates, the hospital treated cases from around the globe, including patients from the US, Kuwait, and Egypt. The youngest patient, at 15 years of age, underwent a total hip replacement, and the oldest, at 84, had a total knee replacement.

Some of the surgeries have helped young patients with developmental deformities or complex injuries after trauma. Recovery was noticeably quicker, but still depends on age, the commitment of the patient to work with a physiotherapist and the complexity of the surgery. Some patients were able to return to work after two weeks; but generally, most recover within six weeks after surgery.

Dr Hasan Elias Baydoun, consultant orthopedic surgeon and head of the orthopaedic department at Healthpoint said post the surgery there has been a positive feedback from patients.

“We have seen patients who undergo robotic surgery being able to go home the very same day.”

Dr Conroy added that future healthcare is going to be exciting with advances in robotic surgery and artificial intelligence.

“This is the latest technology. It allows our residents to get the best possible healthcare. It also puts us in a competitive position to have patients from abroad travel here for the best possible care. I can see in the next 5-10 years, massive changes in the ways surgeries are done,” Dr Conroy added.


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