US-based robotics-assisted surgical firm Blue Belt Technologies has entered into a worldwide commercial agreement with UK-based Smith & Nephew to support the Journey UNI knee system on Blue Belt’s Navio surgical system.

The Navio system features an open-implant architecture that enables users to select a number of different manufacturers’ implants.

Blue Belt Technologies president and CEO Eric Timko said: "Our company is focused on bringing technology solutions to bear in clinically relevant applications, and therefore commercial programmes with great partners like Smith & Nephew are important in allowing us to expand our market penetration of the Navio system."

According to Smith & Nephew, the Navio surgical system offers surgeons with precise surgical planning and handheld robotic-controlled bone preparation for use with partial knee replacements.

The system provides robotics-assistance for partial knee replacement procedures through proprietary CT-free navigation software and a unique hand held computer controlled bone shaping tool.

"With a lower profile, the puncture site is smaller, possibly resulting in fewer access site complications and faster ambulatory rates."

Smith & Nephew Orthopaedic Reconstruction senior vice-president Scott Elliott said: "A concern with partial knees is that they can be difficult to align and balance. Thanks to this agreement, surgeons now have a navigation system that helps alleviate that surgical concern, as well as a partial knee that directly addresses implant durability."

In order to deliver consistent results, the surgical system, with its intraoperative navigation, guides the surgeon in optimally placing the implant and balancing the knee.

Journey UNI implant is an advanced alternative to total knee replacement for patients whose osteoarthritis damage is limited to only one side of their knee.

Compared with total knee replacement, the partial knee enables patients to keep all of their knee ligaments.

The Journey UNI knee, made with Smith & Nephew’s proprietary OXINIUM alloy, provides the potential for reduced implant wear, a leading cause of revision surgery.

Image: The Navio handpiece assists the surgeon in precision bone preparation. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.