Changing the Future of Knee Joint ReplacementDoctors are using much smaller incisions to replace hip joints. Now they are trying it out on knee joint replacements. But many questions remain about this method. In this review, Dr. Vail looks at the latest developments in total knee replacements (TKRs) and asks questions that must be answered in coming years.
One of the new ideas in the world of TKRs is the minimal incision used to replace the joint. Smaller incisions mean less blood loss, a shorter time under anesthesia, and faster rehab. But how much is a faster recovery worth? Is it worth the risk of a failed implant or chronic pain? Dr. Vail points out the less invasive operation must have the same good outcome as a full incision, or it's not worth doing.
New technology is also changing the way TKRs are done. Computer-assisted TKRs will be more accurate, but at what cost? Will the patient have good function? Will the implant last just as long? New total knee devices will likely be on the market soon. Combined with new methods and new technology, they will change the way TKRs are done in the near future.
Thomas Parker Vail, MD. Minimally Invasive Knee Arthroplasty. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. November 2004. Vol. 428. Pp. 51-52.
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