Surgical options - Knee
Sometimes, if nonsurgical treatment, rehabilitation and therapy is unsuccessful, the only way to heal a knee problem may be through surgery. If the knee is irreparably damaged or has eroded away because of arthritis, then knee surgery may be the next logical step. Statistically, 20% of knee patients will require surgery.
Remember that although surgery may be a 'scary' word, today more than ever, people are recovering from surgery and regaining peak performance.
Take, for instance, tennis player Seffi Graf who won both the French Open and Wimbledon following knee surgery. Even more astonishingly, pro tennis player Richard Krajicek recovered from knee surgery after only three months and went on to beat world champion Pete Sampras in straight sets in 1998.
Depending on what part of the knee is actually damaged, surgery can in some cases be delayed. To highlight an extreme example, in the 1999 Stanley Cup Championships, Dallas Star hockey player Brett Hull played three periods during the final game and then played three more periods of overtime all with a grade three torn meniscus — the most severe level of an MCL tear. Although probably not the most healthy decision for his knee, playing on a torn MCL is a sacrifice he was more than willing to make at the highlight of his career as the Stars brought home the Stanley Cup that year — and, of course, he subsequently had surgery to repair his MCL. While most of us have no reason to push ourselves to this sort of an extreme, this illustrates, that surgery for even the most severe injuries can be postponed in some cases.
Essentially, when surgery is done well and the recovery period is carefully and thoroughly completed, return to athletic activity is more than likely not a problem. Below are some specifics regarding knee surgery:
Knee Replacement Surgery
Quality of life is never to be underestimated and when a knee problem is so debilitating that it is impossible to enjoy hobbies that are important to you like gardening or playing with your children or grandchildren, than it is crucial to seek medical help.
Fortunately, before even considering knee replacement surgery as an option, generally physicians will try to find other ways of assuaging the pain. For instance, physical therapy, analgesics and walking aids might be the answer to many knee problems including those stemming from arthritis.
However, it is also nice to know that when other treatments prove to be futile, knee replacement surgery is an option. So prevalent is this surgery, in fact, that over 250,000 knee surgeries are performed each year in the United States alone. It is estimated that in 2040, more than 500,000 knee and hip replacement surgeries will be performed due to the influx in aging Baby Boomers. Knee replacement will help renew the ability to participate in several fun, day to day activities such as gardening, going on walks, golfing, and overall mobility.
So, who is a candidate?
Knee replacement is a procedure generally reserved for those who are over 60 years of age who are in relatively good health, aside obviously, from their knee pain. In fact, 72 percent of knee replacements are done on those over the age of 65. Generally, this means, they maintain a healthy weight, they do not suffer from cardiovascular problems, and they are not suffering from a terminal illness.
Active knee replacement candidates will find it comforting to know that they will be able to resume some athletics following surgery such as golf, swimming, and walking. Some knee replacement recipients have even continued to play tennis and snow ski. Unfortunately, a knee prosthesis is not quite as effective as a healthy, natural knee, however it will be a great improvement over the preoperative pain and discomfort.
Who is not a candidate?
To receive knee replacement surgery, you must be a good candidate. If not, surgery could prove counterproductive. For some, knee replacement surgery is not in their best interest. Those who are too young, with the exception of those who suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis, should consider other types of treatment for knee pain since the prosthesis may need to be replaced after they have reached full growth. Unfortunately, the bone will need to be cut short to make room for a new prosthesis and function and mobility is likely to be damaged during the second operation. Those who are overweight are not good candidates as the prosthesis (just as the natural knee) is designed to carry a weight in proportion to the person’s body. Too much weight on the prosthesis can cause it to be damaged and subsequent knee surgeries will be necessary. Those with cardiovascular problems and with terminal illnesses are also not good candidates as the surgery may be too much for the body to handle. Also those with poor skin coverage over the knee are not good candidates as surgery could impair movement of the knee.
What knee replacement surgery is like?
During knee replacement surgery, you will be under general anesthesia meaning you will be asleep and without pain during the entire procedure, which usually lasts a few hours. The knee is opened up and the kneecap is moved out of the way. Doctors then, shave off the bottom of the femur and the top of the tibia and fibula bones.
Patients typically require an overnight hospital stay to initiate physical therapy and for comfort. Almost all patients are able to go home the day after surgery (usually in the afternoon, after therapy). After the hospital stay, the patient will probably require the aid of a walker for a few days before putting full weight on the leg. Overall, full recovery can take anywhere from two months to one year although dramatic improvements should be seen sooner than that.
The future of joint replacement surgery
Scientists are currently in the process of developing joint replacement methods that will last much longer than the current prototype. While doctors now use a glue to bind the old bone with the new prosthesis, they one day hope to use ceramics as a bone substitute.
When a bone breaks in the body, the bone cells will form together to rejoin the broken bone. In the same way, bone cells can join with coral or ceramics forming one, continuous bone. While recovery may take longer initially, the effects of surgery will last much longer than current replacement methods.
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology & Surgery
The Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology & Surgery makes possible highly predictable surgical experiences when performing hip and knee joint replacement surgery. The Mako System provides CT scan derived, patient-specific 3D modeling enabling accurate planning of implant size, orientation and alignment. The current Mako System product offering includes Partial Knee, Total Hip and Total Knee surgical applications.
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology was acquired by Stryker in December 2013 with a goal of transforming orthopaedic surgery by combining Stryker’s market-leading implants with Mako’s proprietary robotic-arm technology.
About the Mako
The Mako System provides dynamic joint balancing by allowing the orthopedic surgeon to make intra-operative adjustments in order to optimize implant placement. The robotic-arm does NOT make decisions on its own or move without the surgeon guiding the robotic-arm.
Patient-specific pre-operative planning enables more accurate implant positioning. The surgeon can modify the plan if necessary based on the intra-operative data to virtually balance the joint and achieve individualized placement.
Prior to surgery, a CT scan of the hip or knee joint is taken to generate a 3D virtual model of the patient’s unique anatomy. The 3D model helps the doctor see areas they can’t typically see with an x-ray alone. This additional information helps your doctor determine the optimal size, placement and positioning of the implant or removal of bone and cartilage.
The Mako System provides real-time data to your surgeon throughout the entire procedure and the surgeon can adjust the surgical plan if desired. The Mako System provides the surgeon a virtual boundary with real tactile resistance to keep the surgeon within the boundaries defined in the surgical plan.
The surgeon guides Mako’s robotic arm to remove the arthritic bone and cartilage from the joint. The Mako robotic-arm guides the implant at the specific angle ensuring the proper placement and alignment of the implant.
How Does the Mako System Work?
A CT scan of the patient’s diseased hip or knee joint area is uploaded into the Mako System software, which creates a 3D model. The orthpedic surgeon uses the Mako System to create a personalized plan for the joint replacement procedure. The surgeon authenticates the personalized plan and makes any adjustments while guiding the robotic-arm during surgery.
Why use the Mako System
- Stryker’s advanced robotic Mako System allows the surgeon to have a predictable and reproducible surgical experience with increased accuracy.
- The Mako System for knee and hip replacements has continually demonstrated accurate placement of implants and soft tissue protection of the ligaments.
- The Make System allows orthopedic surgeons to offer their patients highly advanced robotic technology that demonstrates their continual commitment in providing outstanding healthcare.
Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee Replacement
Every patient and joint replacement surgery is unique to that individual for many different reasons. If the patient has yet to find any non-surgical knee treatment options that provide adequate long-term relief, the patient may be a candidate for Mako Total Knee replacement surgery.
Mako robotic-arm assisted total knee replacement treatment option provides the patient with a personalized surgical plan based on their unique anatomy.
A CT scan is taken of the patient’s knee joint. The CT scan is then digitally uploaded into the Mako System software where a 3D model of the knee is created. This 3D model is used as a precise guide for the surgeon to plan and perform the patient’s total knee replacement.
In the operating room the orthopedic surgeon will follow the personalized surgical plan.
The orthopedic surgeon guides the robotic-arm to remove the diseased bone and cartilage sections. The Mako System helps the surgeon stay within the designated boundaries of the personalized pre-operative plan.
Total Hip Replacement Technology
If non-surgical therapies, such as physical therapy and injections have all failed to provide long-term relief, it is time to discuss surgical options with your orthopedic surgeon. Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology for total hip replacement is a procedure option for patients suffering from degenerative hip joint disease or hip injury.
The Mako Technology System provides the orthopedic surgeon with a personalized surgical experience based on the patient’s diagnosis and individual anatomy. A CT scan of the hip joint is used to generate a 3D virtual model. The virtual model is loaded into the Mako System software and used by the surgeon to create your personalized surgical plan.
The orthopedic surgeon guides the robotic-arm to remove diseased bone and cartilage, prepare hip socket for new implant, and ultimately restore alignment and function of the hip.
The Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Hip Replacement procedure may offer benefits including increased accuracy and alignment, less blood loss, and better outcomes with higher activity scores post surgery.
Facts about The Mako System
- The Mako Robotic-Arm studies have shown lower post-operative pain at day seven and more accurate implant placement in a randomized control trial.
- The Mako System has expanded to over 19 countries.
- The Mako System has over 10 years of robotic-arm experience, with a 3rd generation robotic-arm platform with multiple generations of knee & hip applications.
- The Mako System is backed by more than 50 published peer reviewed clinical publications, plus more than 350 scientific abstracts accepted at peer reviewed scientific conferences.
- The Mako System has completed more than 70,000 robotic-arm assisted hip & knee procedures.
- Over 100,000 total Mako procedures have been performed to-date.
- The demand for orthopaedic procedures is set to increase dramatically over the next 15 years.
Rosa Robotic Joint Replacement for the knee
South Bend Orthopaedics is one of few joint replacement centers in Indiana providing advanced robotic surgery technology. Early in 2019 medical technology innovator, Zimmer Biomet, secured FDA approval of its new Rosa Robotic Surgery System for knee replacement surgery.
The Rosa Robotic Knee Replacement System includes 3-dimensional technology that enables the knee replacement surgeon to make more precise cuts during surgery and better align the new artificial knee joint to the patient. The robot assisted surgery system also enables the surgeon to preserve more healthy bone during surgery.
The subject of robotic assisted surgery for orthopedics is of keen interest worldwide, with more regional orthopedic joint replacement centers seeing value in adding the advanced technology to their capabilities.
For example, recently the Hip and Knee Society published a paper recently comparing the 90-day episode of care cost with patients receiving a Mako total knee replacement versus conventional knee surgery. Overall, the study determined that Mako robotic assisted surgery patients had a cost of care per episode that was $2,391 less than conventional knee replacement. Additionally, fewer Mako robotic surgery patients needed to be discharged to nursing facilities. Mako Robotic Surgery patients also had a 90-day readmission reduction of 33%.
Torn ACL Surgery
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) works a lot like a guy wire that keeps the femur and the tibia stable. When an athlete tears their ACL, usually it is from a sudden impact that can cause an audible pop or at least a great deal of pain.
Generally speaking, a partially torn ACL stands a chance of recovery without surgery. If the ACL is completely torn, most will need surgery to repair the ligament. Many of those with a torn ACL will need surgery to get back to activity. The procedure itself takes about one hour.
Torn ACLs are one of the most common problems associated with sports. It is important to understand your options if you have a torn ACL.
If you have a completely torn ACL, you will likely need surgery to repair this ligament. If you have a partially torn ACL, depending on the extent of the tear, some people are able to rehabilitate the knee with extensive therapy AND COMMITMENT TO EXERCISE to the point that they have use of the knee again. But you may not have the same strength in the knee joint that you had prior to your knee injury.
Generally speaking, the more you expect to play aggressive sports in the future, the more likely you will need knee surgery to repair a fully torn or partially torn ACL. If you are professional athlete, chances are you will need surgery to get back to full activity.
If you have a torn ACL, the good news is that the problem is fairly common as knee injuries go, and in the hands of a surgeon who specializes in knees, the post surgical knee can be as effective as the knee prior to injury. But most of that depends on the willingness of the athlete to invest the time to rehabilitate and strengthen the knee.
Use of the patellar tendon or hamstring to repair a torn ACL
You should be aware that repairing the torn ACL does NOT involve sewing two torn ends together. Think of your ACL as a rubber band. Once it snaps, it can not be sewn together. Instead, you have to replace the rubber band completely. And that is exactly what the knee surgeon does. They attach a new rubber band to your shin, thread it through your knee and anchor it your femur.
You should ask your physician HOW they repair the ACL. Some knee surgeons use a patellar tendon while many others use a hamstring ligament. There are pros and cons to each.
Harvesting a patellar tendon from the front of the knee makes for a more painful recovery and painful rehabilitation. However, professional athletes who are used to pain from training are more able to tolerate this approach, especially considering that the patellar tendon is viewed by some surgeons to be a higher performance replacement for the torn ligament than the hamstring. Using a hamstring ligament is less painful on rehab of the knee, and some surgeons feel that for most people, the strength of the ligament is sufficient.
Overall, most surgeons would agree that the performance of the knee after ACL replacement is directly linked to how much commitment is given to strengthening the knee with exercises. With the right knee specialist, and with specialized knee rehab, a professional athlete can regain their competitive form and play professional sports again.
Using an arthroscope, the knee surgeon can repair the knee through two tiny half-inch incisions instead of a longer incision which requires a longer recovery and causes a bigger scar. The surgeon will remove a strand from the patellar tendon or hamstring, which will ultimately become the new ACL. A hole is then drilled through the shin bone and a new ACL is threaded through. The new ligament is prepared and secured into place. A plastic dowel locks the new ACL into place. About 30 minutes later, the anesthesia will wear off and the patient is dismissed from the hospital.
During the recovery process, a patient will start off by walking around. A few months later golf is acceptable. After five or six months, the patient is usually allowed to play sports without restriction.