Knee Replacement was once a rather exotic luxury— like traveling to China to see the Great Wall. Today, it’s estimated that two millions Americans are walking around with an artificial knee. One relatively minor flaw in this great success story is that revision surgery has increased for patients in the younger cohort (45 to 64 years old). Some experts believe that the need for repeat surgery can be traced to a poorly fitting prosthesis.
If the implant does not match the bone like a hand in a tight-fitting surgical glove, it can lead to problems down the road. Now there is a new technique that minimizes this possibility. It’s the custom knee replacement called Visionaire. The procedure aims to make sure each surgical candidate has a knee designed for his or her joint, specifically.
The prosthesis is tailored to precisely fit the patient’s knee, which results in less trauma, quicker recovery, and lower odds of infection.
A glance around you provides enough evidence to show that people come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have large, protruding knees; others have lean and skinny ones. The variation is endless. Visionaire Patient Match involves x-rays and MRI images of your knee before the surgery. The resulting prosthetic is tailored by computer-aided processes to precisely fit your knee. This means less trauma for the patient, a quicker recovery, and lower chances of side effects such as infection.
At the Cutting Edge of Science and Medicine
Visionaire was developed by Smith & Nephew, a company that’s been making medical devices for 150 years. The company believes their breakthrough product (or process) will eliminate some major concerns with knee surgery, such as:
- Excess bone removal
- Surgical trauma
- Joint alignment
- Recovery time
- Life expectancy of the joint
Visionaire Can Be Matched to Certain Patients
Knee surgery was traditionally considered a last option after conservative therapies failed or the patient’s overall health was threatened by immobility. Patients in their 40s and 50s were often encouraged to wait as long as they could stand the pain. Total knee replacements for patients between the ages of 45 and 64 are now 188 times more common than in patients over the age of 64. Why? Americans lead more vigorous lives. Many of us bicycle, golf, run, dance, play tennis or work out in the gym several times a week. In addition, we’re living longer. We’re more apt to look at life from the vantage point of 65 years as from a high plateau stretching for unseen miles ahead of us.
Lifestyle Does Count in Knee Replacement
One down note in this otherwise rosy picture is that infection rates have stayed stubbornly high. In the orthopedic clinic, we see too many Americans whose general health has adversely affected their knees— patients with diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other longterm, lifestyle-related conditions.
This has driven orthopedic clinics to focus more on pre-hab and rehab. Rather than seeing the patient for his surgical work and then wishing him (or her) well, we prefer to have patients come to us in advance of knee surgery so we can prepare in an all-round way.
Better diet, smoking cessation, engaging in physical activity . . . these factors bear strongly on surgical outcomes.
After surgery, we would like to see the patient approach rehab as seriously as they approached the surgery. Physical therapy and exercises that are recommended in each phase of recovery will go a long way towards extending a longterm successful outcome.
The custom implant is less apt to show wear and tear over the years. Why not match it with superior general health?
Knee surgery is very much a custom-tailored procedure. The Visionaire process takes the customization to a new level. If you have been considering total knee replacement, give us a call to discuss your options and to learn more about Visionaire.