A ROBOT named after the book and film character Bridget Jones is the new member of a hospital's surgical team.

The robotic arm is able to assist with knee and hip replacement operations by precisely guiding the surgeon’s hand to remove diseased bone and cartilage before an artificial joint is inserted.

The robot, manufactured by the medical devices company Stryker, was called Mako by its developer.

However, it was given the nickname Bridget by the Montefiore Hospital's operating theatre team in Hove due to the large drape it has to be covered with during surgery.

The hospital's theatre manager Karen Craker said: "We decided to call it that as you have to cover the robot with a large drape during surgery which is like a pair of big pants – just like in the film, Bridget Jones’ Diary."

Bridget is the only robot which can be used in all three joint replacement procedures – partial knee, total knee, and total hip replacement.

It is also believed to be the first of its kind to be used by a private hospital in Sussex.

The Montefiore Hospital’s consultant knee surgeon, Mr Sandeep Chauhan, was the first to use the robot.

He said: “It allows for incredible precision as the 3D plan means you cannot deviate from that path which avoids the removal of healthy bone tissue.

"This is extremely exciting for me and my fellow orthopaedic surgeons and very good news for patients as this precision means less trauma during surgery, reduced pain after surgery, and improved recovery.

"This robot will revolutionise hip and knee replacement surgery at The Montefiore."

Hugh Thompson from Brighton was the first patient to have a partial knee replacement which was assisted by Bridget after suffering from years of pain caused by osteoarthritis.

The 53-year-old said: "I was really excited on the day of my surgery as I have been an avid follower of robots and how they are used in hospitals.

"My recovery has been much more impressive than I expected. I was up and walking within the first three hours and off crutches within two weeks.

"When they took the dressings off, I saw a clean wound and no bruising – it was extraordinary.”

The team at the Montefiore Hospital in Hove perform about 600 joint replacements a year and, while the robotic arm will initially be used on knee surgery, it will soon be a vital part of hip replacement procedures.

Peter Harris, interim hospital director said: “We are pleased to be able to offer this latest advancement in technology to our patients.

"We now have the best of both worlds - highly skilled and experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeons and visionary robot technology. This will help us to achieve the very best outcomes for patients."