Health Team

New Joint Designed Primarily for Women

When it comes to prosthetic knees, one size does not fit all, causing problems for many women.

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PHILADELPHIA — Knee replacement surgery gave Lori Trasmondi a chance to walk pain-free.

"I had a lot of trouble with my right knee for the past couple of years, and (it got) to the point that it (inhibited) my life," she said.

Nearly 500,000 Americans, most of whom are women, have knee replacement surgery each year.

Until recently, prosthetic knee joints were the same for both men and women, which left many women often having a hard time to find the right fit.

"The basic issue is that if parts overhang, the knee might be less comfortable in the front," said Dr. Robert Booth, an orthopedic surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.

A new type of prosthetic joint, designed specifically for women, is designed so that the knee is not too big and does not hang on the bones.

With it, for example, a damaged arthritic knee can be replaced in one hour.

"For decades, we've been making people shaped to fit our parts," Booth said. "Now, we have parts shaped to fit the people."

Two months after her surgery, Trasmondi said recovery was going much better than a prior knee surgery four years earlier.

"I use the cane limitedly, and I'm sure that within another couple of weeks, I won't need it at all," she said.