Knee Replacement Surgery (Photo Credit: Consult QD)
Knee problems can cause chronic pain, limit mobility and degrade an individual’s quality of life. When any component of the knee joint is damaged, it can become stiff, inflamed and painful. The knee joint can become damaged by arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis or RA being the most common) or injury and may make it hard to perform simple everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, jogging or running. In severe cases, the person can feel pain without any mobility, even while sitting or lying down.
Individuals who have exhausted non-surgical treatments might consider knee replacement to find relief from chronic knee pain. Knee replacement replaces the damaged or diseased parts of the knee joint with metal or plastic implants. Also called knee arthroplasty, this surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can help move better without any pain.
The developments in knee replacement techniques over recent years has reduced complication and improved outcomes and implant survival. During the 30 to 50 years that knee replacement has been practiced, there has been considerable improvements in type and quality of implants and surgical techniques. Minimally invasive knee replacement is one of the most interesting developments in joint replacement surgery. Latest knee replacement techniques such as arthroscopic and have evolved to maximize implant performance and longevity, while providing a rapid return to normal mobilization.
Medical experts have also learned about knee implant design in the long history of knee replacement. Minimally-invasive knee replacement surgery is “quadriceps-sparing” and is an evolution of orthopedic surgery technique that permits the use of time tested implant designs.
Traditional Knee Replacement vs Minimally-invasive Knee Replacement
1. Rapid return of knee function- Patients who undergo minimally invasive knee replacement typically get muscle strength and control back more rapidly than patients who undergo traditional knee replacement. This is because the quadriceps and tendons are not divided to expose the knee joint like in case of traditional knee replacement. The knee cap is also not everted in case of minimally invasive knee replacement as it is in traditional knee replacement.
2. Smaller incision- Most patients prefer to have a shorter surgical incision. Traditional knee replacement incisions often require 8 to 10 inches longer incisions while minimally-invasive knee replacement requires incision of about 4 to 6 inches ifor most patients.
3. Decreased postoperative pain and downtime- Possibly due to smaller incisions and the fact that the incision causes no trauma or damage to the quadriceps muscles and ligaments of the knee, patients experience lesser postoperative pain and downtime following a minimally invasive knee replacement.
4. Shorter hospitalization and post surgical rehabilitation- Minimally invasive knee replacement allows the patient to be discharged from the hospital with a shorter hospital stay, mostly in 3 to 4 days. The use of innovative, less invasive techniques also promotes quick recovery and shorter rehabilitation. On the other hand, hospital stay and rehabilitation is much longer in patients who undergo traditional knee replacement surgery.
There are a wide variety of surgical techniques and prosthetic implant options available that allow orthopedic surgeons the opportunity to replace some parts (partial knee replacement) or all of the surfaces of the knee joint (total knee replacement) based on the extent of the disease or condition. Minimally invasive knee replacement provides several advantages over the traditional surgery, such as less muscle damage and dissection, shorter incisions and hospital stay, faster rehabilitation, lesser blood loss, less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay, and a more swift improvement in pain and range of motion.