The Next Generation in Knee Replacement Has Arrived

Dr NasarBy: Alan Nasar, M.D.

Total knee replacement surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. This procedure is used to decrease pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life for many patients. Surgeons have performed conventional knee replacement surgery for more than 30 years with generally excellent results. Yet, as with any surgical technique, surgeons have sought new ways to perform the surgery less invasively, with less pain and a faster recovery. As a result, there have been numerous advances in this field over the last few years. Patients now experience less pain, and less time in a hospital, have less blood loss, and are able to return to activities much more rapidly.

Today, skilled orthopedic surgeons are able to implant a total knee replacement device without cutting the quadriceps muscle and tendon as they do in conventional surgery. This new procedure is called Quadriceps Sparing Knee Replacement Surgery. The quadriceps muscle is the most important muscle in the leg, responsible for straightening the leg and extending the knee. When the quadriceps is weak, the leg has a tendency to buckle. Minimally invasive quadriceps sparing knee replacement allows the quadriceps to be only minimally disturbed by the surgery. Since the vast majority of the quadriceps remains intact, patients typically are able to lift their legs using their own muscles within 24 hours of the surgery. This allows patients to walk and perform activities with much less difficulty and less reliance on supportive devices such as canes and walkers. Additionally, returning to activities such as driving and working is expected to be easier and quicker. Other advances in knee replacement include bloodless surgery. Tranexamic acid is routinely used to limit bleeding during the surgery and as a result, the need for blood transfusion is eliminated in most cases.

The overall amount of postoperative physical therapy and time to return to a normal lifestyle is generally significantly less than with traditional knee replacement. In fact, discharge planning begins prior to surgery and physical therapy begins on the day of surgery. Patients who have quadriceps sparing knee replacement surgery generally experience a better outcome, with less postoperative pain, a shorter rehabilitation time and greater overall satisfaction with the technique.

Always key to a successful outcome, consult an experienced, board certified orthopedic surgeon to discuss your options. Having skilled nurses and an expert physical therapy team to coach patients through their rehabilitation can also make the difference when it comes to an excellent surgical outcome.

Raritan Bay Medical Center has embraced Medicare’s new bundling model ‘Comprehensive Care of the Joint’ (CJR) to support better and more efficient care, and includes quad sparing knee replacement. We are committed to coordinating high-quality, cost effective care for all patients including Medicare beneficiaries to provide the best outcomes throughout our patients’ entire episode of care.

Alan Nasar, M.D., is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon with a special focus on minimally invasive orthopedic surgery. He is on staff at the Human Motion Institute at Raritan Bay Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family. This unique program offers a comprehensive treatment continuum of care within a highly integrated health care delivery network, and is dedicated to returning patients to normal activities quickly and safely under the guidance of a nurse navigator. To make an appointment with Dr. Nasar, call 855.5.MOTION.

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