Revolutionising Knee Replacement Surgery: A Q&A with Orthopaedic Pioneer, Mr Ian McDermott

20th March 2024 By Phoenix Hospital Group

In the realm of orthopaedic surgery, knee replacement stands as a transformative yet daunting procedure for many patients suffering from debilitating arthritis pain. The traditional approach, utilising standard off-the-shelf prostheses, often presents challenges such as imperfect fit and suboptimal outcomes. However, advancements in medical technology have ushered in a new era of precision and customisation, with patient-specific custom-made knees emerging as a promising solution.

Spearheading this innovation is Mr Ian McDermott, a distinguished Consultant Knee Surgeon at Phoenix Hospitals Group’s Weymouth Street Hospital. Through his pioneering work with Conformis, a U.S.-based company, Mr McDermott has revolutionised knee replacement surgery in the UK, offering tailored prostheses that precisely match the size, shape, and contours of individual patients’ knees.



In this interview, Mr McDermott elucidates the advantages of custom-made knees over standard replacements, shedding light on their superior outcomes and long-term benefits.


Could you explain what sets patient-specific custom-made knees apart from standard knee replacements?

“Certainly. Patient-specific custom-made knees are tailored precisely to fit the individual patient’s knee, addressing issues of size, shape, and contours. Unlike standard knee replacements, which come in predefined sizes and shapes, custom-made knees ensure a perfect match, reducing the risk of discomfort and dissatisfaction post-surgery.”


How does the process of obtaining a custom-made knee differ from that of a standard knee replacement?

“With custom-made knees, we take a detailed CT scan of the patient’s knee, including views of the hip and ankle, to ensure accuracy in alignment and rotation. This data is then sent to the manufacturer, who designs, manufactures, and delivers a prosthesis that precisely matches the patient’s anatomy. In contrast, standard knee replacements involve more generalized sizing and shaping, often requiring adjustments during surgery to fit the prosthesis.”


What are the main benefits of opting for a custom-made knee over a standard replacement?

“Numerous studies have shown that patients with custom-made knees experience higher satisfaction rates compared to those with standard replacements. The risk of dissatisfaction with a custom-made knee is significantly lower, ranging from 33% to 75% reduction, compared to standard replacements. Additionally, custom-made knees have demonstrated a lower failure rate, approximately 75% less than the average prosthesis on the market.”


Can you elaborate on the longevity of custom-made knees compared to standard prostheses?

“Data from the UK National Joint Register shows that custom-made knees have a 10-year revision rate of just 1.23%, compared to around 5% for standard prostheses. This indicates a significantly lower risk of requiring revision surgery with custom-made knees, highlighting their durability and long-term success.”


Some may be curious about the comparison between robotic knee replacement surgery and custom-made knees. Could you shed some light on this?

“Absolutely! While robotic knee surgery offers precise bone cuts, it does not guarantee a perfect fit for the prosthesis. In contrast, custom-made knees combine precision in bone preparation with a tailored prosthesis, offering superior outcomes in terms of patient satisfaction and long-term survival of the prosthesis.”


Finally, what would you say is the ultimate recommendation for individuals considering knee replacement surgery?

“Based on the evidence and outcomes, I would highly recommend considering a custom-made knee, such as the Conformis iTotal. It offers unparalleled patient satisfaction rates and longevity, providing individuals with a life-transforming solution for knee arthritis pain.”


About Mr Ian McDermott

Conformis custom-made knee surgery is available by Mr Ian McDermott at The Weymouth Street Hospital, and consults out of the Phoenix Hospital Group’s rooms at No. 9 Harley Street.

To find out more about Mr Ian McDermott and to book an appointment, please click here.