Why this Canberra surgeon uses robotics for joint replacement surgery

Rachel Ziv16 September 2019
dr damian smith

Dr Damian Smith and the MAKO robot, which now has a home at the National Capital Private Hospital in Garran. Photos: Supplied.

We’re all worried robots will take over our jobs one day, but what about when robotics actually help improve our quality of life?

One doctor passionate about leveraging robotic technology to improve patient outcomes is Dr Damian Smith – skilled orthopaedic surgeon and a pioneer of robotic surgery in Australia. And we’re lucky to have him right here in Canberra.

After growing up in Canberra’s north, Dr Smith has studied locally, interstate and abroad, completing specialty training in orthopaedics including a Fellowship in Joint replacement surgery and in Paediatric Orthopaedics in the UK.

In 2019 he set up in.motion Orthopaedics, an orthopaedic practice in Phillip where he offers personalised patient care and specialises in lower limb surgeries including hip and knee replacements, and knee reconstruction.

inmotion orthopaedics

Dr Smith’s orthopaedic practice in Phillip, in.motion Orthopaedics.

Excited about the potential of robotic technology, Dr Smith spent significant time researching the MAKO robotic-arm surgical support system and was pivotal in its introduction to the Canberra region. The MAKO robot is now available through the National Capital Private Hospital in Garran.

“It’s really interesting technology and a big advance in orthopaedic surgery. The MAKO robot gives surgeons another level of interactive planning before and during joint replacement surgery.

“We start with a CT scan of the joint, such as the hip or knee, and it generates a 3D model of the patient’s anatomy. We can then use the technology to conduct a virtual operation using the model to determine the most suitable sized implant, position and alignment.

“That data is then stored and utilised during surgery, where the robotic arm helps to prepare the patient’s anatomy and customise the joint replacement for the patient.”

Over 10,000 joint replacements have now been performed in Australia by 38 MAKO robots.

“There are studies showing excellent patient outcomes with the use of this technology and improvements in the precision and accuracy in the placement of joint replacements. I believe if we have more accurately-placed joint replacements, there are potential longevity benefits for the replaced joint.

“I’m proud to have been involved in bringing this to Canberra – our people in the region deserve to have access to this technology.

“Canberra punches above its weight in the delivery of medical care. I’ve worked as a senior surgeon here in Canberra, in Sydney and overseas, and the delivery of healthcare here is comparable to the best in the world.”

As in.motion Orthopaedics’ accountant and business adviser, Andrew Sykes of RSM says they are proud to work with a company that is using innovations in technology to achieve positive results for people in the Canberra community.

To learn more about Dr Smith and joint replacement surgery using the MAKO robot, visit

For expert accountancy support, visit RSM.

Original Article published by Rachel Ziv on The RiotACT.

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