A Less Painful Approach to Knee Replacement
Knee replacement surgery is a common operation in the United States, with more than 300,000 total knee replacements performed each year. It is typically called for when patients are suffering from severe arthritis pain, mal-aligned knees, or limited range of motion. If more conservative treatments are not helping these conditions, then it is time to consider surgery.
Joint replacement surgery is an intensive operation that typically comes with long recovery times. In an attempt to make these procedures more convenient for patients, many surgeons have started using a minimal incision approach to knee replacement surgery. This surgical approach results in less blood less, less pain, and faster recovery.
The Minimally Invasive Approach to Knee Surgery
A minimally invasive surgery is a procedure that avoids cutting into deep tissues and muscles. Typical incisions are approximately 4 to 6- inches in length, rather than the 8 to 11- inch incisions used in traditional surgery.
There are two main approaches to minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery:
- Quad Sparing – This procedure avoids cutting into the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh. Patients are often back on their feet within hours of undergoing this surgery, although some rehabilitation is still required.
- Mini Total Knee Replacement – This procedure does make one or two small cuts into the quadriceps muscles, but less so than a traditional knee replacement.
Which procedure is right for you will depend on several factors, including your size, the type of condition you are dealing with, and current range of motion in your knee.
Mini knee surgery may take longer to perform than traditional knee surgery, but it also speeds up recovery time for the patient. However, not everyone will be a candidate for minimally invasive knee replacement surgery. These procedures are generally not recommended for patients who are obese or who have had a prior knee surgery.