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New Options In Knee Replacement Surgery

SARASOTA, Fla., June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With a variety of knee replacement surgical options, there's no reason to put up with persistent knee pain. "Knee replacement should be considered when the quality of one's life becomes increasingly compromised by the condition of the knee," said Ronald P. White, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at Kennedy-White Orthopaedic Center in Sarasota, Florida. "We have many new options in knee replacement surgery."

One example is gender specific knee replacement for women, according to White, who specializes in hip and knee reconstructive surgery and has designed knee replacements used in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. "In addition, we use patient-specific implants when there is significant bony deformity," he added.

That customized approach to knee replacement surgery is essential because each patient is different, said White who normally performs more than 200 knee procedures a year. For example, a partial knee replacement can correct a painful condition that is limited to just one compartment of the knee. Other patients with rheumatoid arthritis throughout the joint might be candidates for a total replacement of one or both knees.

Each year, about 270,000 knee replacement procedures are performed in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). In each case, surgeons open the knee and implant prosthetic devices to relieve pain and provide greater freedom of movement. Designed for durability, the prosthetic devices can last more than 15-20 years in most patients.

About 70 percent of knee replacements involve patients over age 65, although there has been an increase in procedures in younger adults. "There has been an increased acceptance of the partial knee replacement," White said. "We use minimally invasive techniques to spare the muscles around the knee, an approach that protects the tendons as well."

Along with improved surgical techniques, one of the key areas of advancement has been a greater ability to align the prosthetic components and balance the ligaments properly, added White. "Research is now underway that may bring us electronic sensors to further help balance the knees," he added. "Certainly, advances in pain control over the past decade have helped total knee replacement patients considerably."  

Patients considering knee replacement surgery may prepare by losing weight or doing certain exercises to strengthen the lower extremity muscles. The average hospital stay is three days, although a patient can usually take a few steps with a walker or crutches on the first day after surgery. A cane or a crutch will generally be used for three to six weeks, according to White. Low-impact activities like ballroom dancing, golf, swimming, bicycling, doubles tennis or bowling are allowed after recovery.

"People who have undergone knee replacement should basically return to their normal activities of daily living with the exception of impact sports," White said. "Overall, the outcomes for people who have undergone knee replacement have been excellent."

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SOURCE Kennedy-White Orthopaedic Center
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