US Medical Device Firm Selects Scotland for Landmark Clinical Study

A state-of-the-art robotic arm for orthopaedic surgery that has the potential to transform the way in which knee joint replacements are conducted in the UK and reduce cost, is to be employed in clinical studies at the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Royal Infirmary and the University of Strathclyde.

It is the first time the robotic arm technology pioneered by the MAKO Surgical Corp. will be used outside the U.S. The American firm has joined forces with orthopaedic surgeons from NHS Scotland and leading scientists from the University to establish the multidisciplinary MAKO Centre for Surgical Robotics, which was officially launched today (Thursday 3rd June 2010).


Over the course of the next three years, the Centre at the University’s department of bioengineering, together with the participating surgeons at the NHS, will engage in randomised clinical trials of MAKO’s RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopaedic System, which allows surgeons to perform a precise knee resurfacing procedure called MAKOplasty®.

MAKOplasty®, which is commonly performed on patients with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis of the knee, has been successfully employed by orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S. since 2006 to enhance the accuracy of the surgical procedure and significantly improve patient recovery time. This in turn might reduce the length of time patients stay in hospital post-operation which may translate into considerable cost savings for health trusts.

Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, said: “Scotland’s reputation for scientific excellence is globally renowned. We produce one per cent of the world’s published research with only 0.1 per cent of the world’s population, and our health science research is at the heart of many advances in medical technology. All of this means there is no better place to pioneer this exciting new partnership.

“The new MAKO Centre can help revolutionise the way knee joint replacement surgery is carried out in the UK and will further enhance Scotland’s reputation for being at the forefront of turning the latest scientific research into real health benefits for patients. I am delighted to learn about the launch of this important Centre.”

Dr. Maurice R. Ferré, President and Chief Executive Officer of MAKO, said: “As an innovative, U.S. based public medical device company, we intend to gradually introduce our technology in international markets. To begin this process, we chose partners in the UK who could bring together best-in-class clinical and research services.

“We are delighted that Scottish patients will be the first in the UK to benefit from MAKOplasty® – a procedure that is already transforming partial knee orthopaedic interventions in the USA.”

The robot in action on a synthetic bone during the launch.

Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “The creation of the Centre for Surgical Robotics reflects Strathclyde’s strategic mission to apply high quality research and enhance our successful links with industry and the NHS to bring benefits to wider society.”

“If successful, the Centre will contribute to improving the functional outcome of knee surgery patients in Glasgow, reducing pain and helping patients recover more quickly. In addition, the technology could reduce the cost to the NHS.”

He added: “The potential for further developments through this new partnership could transform many other aspects of orthopaedic surgery.”

Jim Crombie, Director of Surgery & Anaesthetics for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), said:  “This research study has just started and is typical of NHSGGC’s support of cutting edge science. We will be working closely with University of Strathclyde and MAKO Surgical Corp over the coming three years to support full completion.

“The results of this study will be considered as part of our clinical effectiveness processes. NHSGGC recognise the many benefits associated with working with colleagues within our academic institutions and will continue this type of collaboration across many areas of our service provision.”

MAKO, the University and NHS Scotland will support the first full and independent randomised clinical trial of the MAKO RIO® and will draw on NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s excellence in orthopaedic innovation and joint replacement surgery, as well as the University’s internationally recognised expertise in biomechanical and functional assessment of orthopaedic devices.

MAKO Surgical Corp.

MAKO Surgical Corp. is a medical device company that markets both its RIO® Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic system and its proprietary RESTORIS® implants for minimally invasive orthopedic knee procedures.

The MAKO RIO is a surgeon-interactive tactile surgical platform that incorporates a robotic arm and patient-specific visualization technology and prepares the knee joint for the insertion and alignment of MAKO’s resurfacing RESTORIS implants through a minimal incision. The FDA-cleared and CE Mark approved RIO system allows surgeons to provide a precise, consistently reproducible tissue-sparing, bone resurfacing procedure called MAKOplasty® to a large, yet underserved patient population suffering from early to mid-stage osteoarthritic knee disease. MAKO has an intellectual property portfolio of more than 250 licensed or owned patents and patent applications relating to the areas of robotics, haptics, computer assisted surgery and implants.

Additional information can be found at

University of Strathclyde Bioengineering Unit

The Bioengineering Unit at the University of Strathclyde has been at the forefront of the design and evaluation of orthopaedic implants for more than 40 years. It is home to the UK’s only doctoral training centre in medical devices, and the Strathclyde Institute of Medical Devices – a centre to bring together experts in engineering, the life sciences and medicine to create pioneering medical devices and technology to improve patient care. More at

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