by Mark W. McFarland, D.O
Posted on Tuesday 19th of July 2011
One of the latest advancements in Orthopaedics is the development of “Customizable” Knee Replacements. What makes this knee replacement different from the more traditional approaches? The knee to be replaced will be scanned by MRI or CT to chart the exact dimensions of the knee. Using a special software program, the mapped dimensions of the knee, in its current arthritic state, are translated into a 3-D model of the knee. The “custom” part of the knee replacement is the creation of custom cutting guides used for the patient’s surgery. These guides replicate the original anatomy of the knee by correcting deformities caused by arthritis or trauma and allow the surgeon to more precisely prepare the patient’s bone for implantation. The surgeon can also more closely determine which size implant is appropriate for the patient. The guides also aid in the placement of the implant so that the knee more closely approximates the patient’s natural leg alignment.
What are the benefits of Customizable Knee Implants?
Because this is a relatively new technology, there are no long-term studies showing comparing the recovery times or outcomes for patients who receive a Customizable Knee Implant with traditional knee replacements. However, there are several expected benefits from use of this technology:
·Patient satisfaction is expected to be greater as the implant will more closely replicate their own anatomy. As a result, the patient will become accustomed to their implant more quickly, possibly rehabilitate from surgery more quickly and have a quicker return to their daily activities.
·Because of the technology used to create the custom knee implants, the surgeon is more easily able to perform the knee replacement without disturbing the ligaments and tendons surrounding the knee, such as the posterior cruciate ligament. Less disruption of these tissues will allow for quicker recovery time, less scar tissue and less post-operative soreness.
·These surgeries require fewer surgical instruments than traditional knee replacements. That translates into fewer patient infections caused by using surgical instruments which may have been exposed to bacteria in the operating room.
What are the drawbacks?
Some surgeons believe that using a customizable knee is less reliable and will provide less stability for patients in the long run. Other surgeons believe that customizable knee replacements will have to be revised (replaced again) more quickly than other traditional knee replacements. Again, more long-term data is required to provide a definitive answer.
How Do I Decide What Implant is Right For Me?
Based on the available data and studies, several surgeons at Orthopaedic and Spine Center have chosen to provide the Customizable Knee Replacement as a service to our patients, because they feel it is a good option for successful joint replacement. Our surgeons also offer the traditional approach to knee replacement for our patients. The bottom line: Do your research and discuss all options with your physician. He or she will best be able to help you decide which knee replacement option will work for you, based on:
·Your overall health
·Any existing medical conditions
If you have any questions, regarding this or any other procedure, our physicians and staff will be happy to provide the answers you need to make the best decision for you.
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