Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement is a common procedure used to replace the damaged surfaces of the knee. Typically the surgery will help relieve pain and increase mobility for patients and help them return to their everyday activities. Minimally invasive total knee replacement is a variation of this procedure. In this form of surgery a shorter incision is made and less invasive dissection technique is used. Minimally invasive total knee replacement isn’t ideal for everyone and a surgeon can help patients determine if the best option.
Which Surgery is Right for You?
Damaged cartilage and bone is removed from the surface of the knee during any knee replacement. Minimally invasive knee replacement can be effective for certain patient but requires a smaller incision than traditional knee replacement, and fewer muscles are cut. The goal of any knee replacement surgery is to help the patient live pain free and return to their daily activities.
Traditional Knee Replacement
During a traditional knee replacement the surgeon will make an eight to ten inch vertical incision over the front of the knee. Once the joint is exposed the damaged cartilage surfaces from the femur and tibia are removed. The cartilage and bone is then replaced with metal components. The undersurface of the patella is shaved and resurfaced with a plastic button. A plastic spacer is placed between the metal components to create a smooth surface.
Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement
Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement is similar but the tissue surrounding the knee isn’t cut nearly as much. A shorter incision is required, meaning there is less tissue disturbance. The technique used to open the knee joint itself is also less invasive. The techniques used in minimally invasive knee replacements are quadriceps sparing, so less trauma is placed on the quadriceps and the muscles in front of the thigh. Since there is less disruption to the muscle there is less postoperative pain and a shorter recovery time.
Who Should Have Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacements
A doctor will conduct a evaluation to consider whether or not a patient is suitable for minimally invasive knee replacement. Most candidates are thinner, younger, healthier and more capable of participating in the rehabilitation process. People who have already had knee surgeries or are overweight are less suitable for this procedure. Also those with extreme deformities to the knee and health problems that slow wound healing may be more vulnerable to complications, and typically aren’t considered for minimally invasive knee replacements.