The newest generation of knee replacement systems allow surgeons to provide a total knee-replacement procedure that is “customized” for each patient. Using new technologies, the knee implants and the cutting guides used in the surgical procedure can be “created” specifically for each patient. The rationale for this approach is that if you more closely approximate the knee in its natural, pre-arthritic state when performing a knee replacement, you will have a better patient outcome. This includes better knee alignment, improved recovery times, better patient mobility and range of motion.
Currently, there are several manufactures of customized knee replacement systems, including:
- Smith & Nephew’s Visionaire Patient Matched System
- OtisMed Custom-Fit Knee Replacement System
- Depuy Tru-Match Personalized Solutions for Knee Replacement
- ConforMIS Patient Specific Knee Implants
All of these manufacturers use proprietary software, MRI or CT scans and X-rays (or a combination of these) to “map” the patient’s knee. The “knee map” is then used to match the size and placement of the implant to the individual patient’s normal (pre-arthritic) knee anatomy. Cutting guides, used to surgically place the implant in the knee, will be molded and in some cases, the implant will also be created. Use of this custom instrumentation greatly reduces the time spent in surgery, by eliminating the traditional step of “matching” the patient’s knee anatomy to the available implant sizes and the cutting of the patient’s bone to accommodate the knee implant. The custom instrumentation arrives at the hospital in a small, sterilized package, is easier to implant and reduces the time that the patient is under anesthesia and their knee is open to infection. This new “custom” approach enables surgeons to preserve more of the patient’s own bone and ligaments, which allows for better implant fit and knee alignment.
Some physicians and patients have reported quicker and less painful recovery times, greater range of motion, and a easier return to daily activities. As these procedures are relatively new and long-term outcome studies are not yet available, it is recommended that you consult with your OSC orthopaedic specialist to choose the joint replacement system that best suits your specific needs and health concerns.