Revolutionary New Drill Guidance System Introduced at RUH

A study is underway at RUH Bath to test a revolutionary new drill guidance system, which aims to improve the accuracy of drilling screw holes in bone during surgery.

Prof Gray Giddins with the new equipment | Photo courtesy of RUH

It is hoped that the new system, which has been developed in conjunction with the University of Bath, will help surgeons be even more precise when drilling holes and reduce the time patients spend in the operating room.

Normally, the surgeon will hold the drill and drill the hole in the bones for the screws using only their sight, for procedures such as repairing a fracture in a bone.

During the trial, the surgeon will use all the same techniques but will also have a camera on the drill and an indicator that will help guide the drill in the right direction as it passes through the bone.

The research team is gathering information on whether the new device reduces the patient’s time in the operating room because it helps the surgeon be more precise, whether there are any complications after the operation and to what extent the procedure was successful.

Research at RUH is led by Professor Gray Giddins, orthopedic consultant and hand surgeon, with support from Dr Ioannis Georgilas, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath.

Professor Giddins, who was recently appointed Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons of England for 2022 in recognition of his contributions to research into the biomechanics of wrist and hand injuries, said: “It has been a privilege to work with the University of Bath and RUH research teams to take this research forward to improve patient care.

“We are about to start the clinical trial which we hope will establish the value of this new device.

“This is a really exciting trial that we hope will have a really positive impact on our patients, potentially reducing the time they spend in surgery.”

The RUH has an excellent reputation for its participation in national and global research, with a portfolio of nearly 200 individual research studies in which thousands of people participate each year.

The Trust provides research opportunities to patients across the hospital, in areas such as cancer care, maternity, stroke, rheumatology and ageing.

More recently, RUH research has played a leading role in the fight against Covid-19.

The life-saving vaccines, treatments and tests that turned the tide against the pandemic were only possible because of the people who volunteered to be part of research at the RUH and other hospitals across the country.

Dr Kelly Spencer, Research Operations Manager, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to the research studies here at RUH.

“By volunteering to participate in a study, you are playing a vital role in helping to treat and prevent disease now and in the future.”