Minimally Invasive and Small Incision Knee Surgery

Minimally Invasive and Small Incision Knee Surgery GW HospitalQUICKER Recovery. Less Pain.

GW Hospital is just one of eleven sites nationwide and the first in D.C. to perform the new minimally invasive knee replacement developed by Zimmer, Inc.

Benefits to the patient:

The benefits to patients are numerous. Instead of the three months it takes most patients to recover from traditional knee replacement surgery it takes patients about half that time—just six weeks. In addition, the new procedure is performed in a way in which the muscles around the knee are spared which speeds recovery time and reduces pain.

The procedure and implant:

The true advantage of the new minimally invasive procedure is that it avoids splitting the muscles around the knee. Traditional ‘open' knee surgery requires an 8-10" incision running from the knee into the quadriceps muscle. The new procedure called "quad sparing knee surgery", involves just a 3-4" incision. Both techniques involve cutting the bone ends to accept the implant.

The prosthetic implants used in the minimally invasive procedure are exactly the same as those used in a traditional ‘open' knee replacement surgery. The prosthetic device is comprised of ultra-light titanium and synthetic polymer, with individual parts containing the following:

  • Tibial component: titanium
  • Plastic spacer: polyethylene
  • Femoral component: cobalt-chrome

As minimally invasive techniques are still being refined, this procedure actually takes a surgeon more time to perform—about two hours—as compared with a traditional "open" knee replacement, which takes about an hour.

Is a minimally invasive knee replacement right for you?

This procedure is recommended for those patients who are small (so the implant can be small and easy to manipulate), with fairly good range of motion, and will particpate in physiotherapy before surgery. This procedure requires a rapid and vigorous rehabilitation plan—including stretching and range of motion exercises to enhance flexibility and strength. Patients generally complete this rehabilitation plan last just 6 weeks as compared with the traditional 12 weeks.

The minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery requires a two to three-day hospital stay; most insurance plans cover the procedure. The patient of choice is an in-shape, fit and probably young patient who can adapt to a rapid rehab protocol. Patients who are in poor shape medically or physically, or who cannot handle rapid rehab, would benefit just as much with the standard approach to knee surgery.

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