Total Knee Replacement: Gender Specific Implants And the Women’s Knee
by George Cautilli, MD, Medical Director, The Center for Joint Replacement, St. Mary Medical Center
Total knee replacement has become one of the most successful, reproducible and life changing procedures in the history of surgery. Patients with severe knee joint arthritis are significantly limited by pain and restriction of activities of daily living. As joint replacement surgeons, we have been able to offer these patients relief from these disabilities with knee replacement procedures. The number of patients who can be helped by these operations has increased over time due to improvements in surgical techniques, physical therapy modalities and joint implant innovations. We can now offer these replacements to both younger and older patients than in previous years. This has tremendous impact on our population as knee replacements can keep patients more mobile and productive for many years after their surgery. Most patients will tell you that it's the best thing they've ever done for themselvesand that they wished they'd done it sooner.
Recent direct to consumer marketing regarding gender specific, or women's knee replacements has seemingly brought this subject to light. Traditional knee joint implants were originally designed as average sizes for the general population with universal femoral (thigh bone) parts that were not even specific for the right or left side. Over the last 30 years, constant improvements in implant designs by all manufacturers has produced better fits for all
patients regardless of size, right or left knee, or male or female gender. Women's knees are generally smaller than men's and require narrower profiles that have been incorporated into these new designs. However, the prospective knee replacement patient needs to discuss these specific issues with their surgeon, so as to create the best preoperative plan for a successful knee replacement.
The orthopedic surgeons at St. Mary Medical Center for Joint Replacement now have more options than ever before to "custom fit" each prosthesis to each patient. We utilize the latest surgical approaches, state-of-the-art implant designs and post-operative protocols to optimize each patient's return to function. Ultimately, it is the skill of the surgeon, the fit of the prosthesis, the physical therapy and nursing protocols and the patient's hard work that make a successful knee replacement surgery. Here at St. Mary, we have designed a unique program that incorporates all of these essential elements allowing most patients to have these surgeries and return home independently in 3-4 days. It is our goal to make the patients' stay as pleasant as possible and to return them to their desired level of function as rapidly as is possible.