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Townsville is new home to robotic centre of the North

Townsville is emerging as North Queensland’s centre for state-of-the-art surgical technology.

Townsville is emerging as North Queensland’s centre for state-of-the-art surgical technology with two new surgical robots arriving at Mater Private Hospital Townsville to deliver thousands of patients with local access to world-class healthcare services.

The $2m Stryker Mako robot, donated through community fundraising by Mater Foundation, is the only one of its kind in North Queensland. It improves precision for surgeons and reduces pain as well as time in hospital for patients requiring knee and hip replacements.

In addition, the ROSA Knee System will be used with patients requiring knee implants.

Mater’s latest investment in North Queensland healthcare technology follows its introduction earlier this year of the Da Vinci Xi robot which has transformed treatment and recovery outcomes amongst gynaecology, urology and general surgery patients.

Mater Private Hospital Townsville orthopaedic surgeon Dr Jim Price said robotics was the future for surgeons and North Queenslanders were set to gain from having world-class technology on their doorstep.

“The Stryker Mako is amongst the most advanced surgical robots available for knee and hip replacement surgery, and is an impressive addition to the robotic surgical capability at Mater Private Hospital Townsville” Dr Price said.

“The Stryker takes a CT scan that creates a 3D image of each patient’s unique anatomy which enables surgeons to plan their operations with greater accuracy. The navigational and surgical elements of the robot allow for less invasive treatment and improved precision, which often results in better post-operative outcomes in terms of mobility and functionality.”

Condon knee replacement patient Ian Reid said he had been in excruciating pain and virtually housebound for two years before having knee surgery using the Stryker Mako robot at Mater Private Hospital Townsville.

“I was an infantry soldier in the Army for 40 years,” Mr Reid said. “Training with heavy packs along with other work and physical activity left me with extremely bowed legs and severe pain.

“About 1.5cm had been ground off my right tibia from pressure over the years, causing my knees, hips and spine to be out of alignment.  The pain was excruciating, and the medication I was taking has destroyed my kidney and my liver.”

Mr Reid, 62, had his right knee replaced in August and surgery on his left knee last week.

“The difference is incredible,” he said. “I’m so much more mobile and able to get around. I can get back to doing things I love like going to the beach and bushwalking – things I haven’t been able to do for years because I was homebound.

“Living with chronic pain like that and being unable to get around had a huge impact on my mental health and there were times it was so bad that I thought about ending things.

“I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life.”

Mater Private Hospital Townsville Executive Officer Libbie Linley said Mater was committed to continuing to deliver world-class healthcare services to North Queenslanders.

“Mater is striving to become industry leaders in orthopaedic care and the investment in technology is one way we are contributing to the delivery of consistent safe, high quality, evidence-based healthcare,” she said.

“The new technology also enables us to train local doctors and nurses in the latest surgical and medical procedures, ensuring they can stay in our community to progress their careers and future-proof the local workforce.”

Ms Linley said there were plans for further technological advancements at Mater Private Hospital Townsville in the near future, cementing the hospital as a North Queensland centre for state-of-the-art healthcare.

Mater Foundation Executive Officer Andrew Thomas said regional Queenslanders deserved equal access as their south east counterparts to the latest technology and surgical know-how.

“Townsville is a thriving region with a growing population and a community with evolving and changing healthcare needs,” Mr Thomas said.

“Mater Foundation will continue to provide vital equipment as well as healthcare services to regional hospitals across Queensland to ensure that every Queenslander, regardless of where they live, has access to the best possible healthcare.”

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