Thornhill Manor resident makes African medical history

Thornhill Manor resident makes African medical history

It’s official! Eunice de Jager, a resident from Thornhill Manor Retirement Village in Modderfontein, is the first patient to have a total hip replacement with the latest in orthopaedic technology at Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital.

This technology, utilising the Mako Robotic Arm, is the first of its kind in Africa and exclusive to Modderfontein. The hip replacement operation was performed by Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Ebrahim Hoosen, and assisted by Dr Lipalo Mokete.

Eunice is already on the road to recovery, and has even done some walking, having climbed a few stairs!
The Mako Robotic Arm machine was officially welcomed at the hospital in November last year. The machine, which utilises specialist technology, was designed to deliver improved accuracy and effectiveness in orthopaedic surgery.
Two of the hospital’s patients received hip and knee replacement operations on 17 November last year but Eunice’s was the first complete hip replacement made using the machine.

Dr Illgen, who travelled to South Africa from Wisconsin to speak at November’s launch, said he was Harvard-trained, having been trained by the same man who completed the first-ever total hip replacement operation. He explained the machine’s ground-breaking technology gave a first-time surgeon the same precision in hip and knee orthopaedic operations as a surgeon who has practiced thousands of these operations. “No matter how good and experienced you are as a surgeon, you are still a human. What this machine does is do away with human error,” he said.
He demonstrated the use of the machine for guests to the launch, explaining how the scientifically-made plate and the knee cavity fitted together as lock and key.

He said the machine allowed for knee and hip surgery to be two to three times more accurate and patients who received replacements or surgery using the machine reported less pain or discomfort following surgery, faster recovery and less discrepancy in leg length (following hip surgery), among other benefits.

Dr Illgen said he had been in robotics for the past eight years and explained this was the future of medical technology. “The machine will never replace the actual person,” he said, following journalists’ questions as to whether there was a concern that ‘robots’ or ‘robotics’ would ever take over the actual surgeon’s role in the operating theatre.