New Knee Surgery Cuts Down On Recovery Time
Posted February 7, 2005 4:46 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — Traditional knee replacement surgery is a major procedure with a long recovery, sometimes up to six months. A new surgery called a mini-knee could have patients back on their feet in a few weeks.
Severe arthritis forced Joan Glidden to seek knee replacement surgery.
"I couldn't step on it without horrendous pain," she said.
A surgeon replaced her left knee years ago. It took six months of painful rehab. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Buchalter offered Joan a quicker alternative for her right knee, the
"Using a smaller incision, you cause less damage to the muscles, less damage to the tissues and it speeds up recovery," Buchalter said.
Buchalter uses miniaturized equipment and arthroscopes to remove the old arthritic knee. With the help of a computer, he guides the prosthetic knee in place.
The new procedure is safer because the smaller instruments and computer precision allows surgeons to avoid cutting the major stabilizing muscle of the leg altogether.
"We don't violate the muscle at all. People are back in the swing of things and the pain is 80 percent to 90 percent less than what it used to be with traditional knee replacement," Buchalter said.
Traditional knee replacement scars can be as long as 12 inches. The mini-knee scar is just 4 inches.