Orthopedic Associates of Aspen
Specialist in Knee Joint Replacement surgery
by: Cathy Zimmer, P.T., O.C.S.
Aspen Club Sports Medicine and Fitness Institute
What makes me a candidate for a partial knee replacement as compared to a full replacement?
An individual is a candidate for a partial knee replacement if they have arthritis in 1or 2 knee compartments (medial/lateral side of the joint only or medial/lateral side of the joint along with the undersurface of the patella), have good range of motion of the knee, good stability of the knee, normal alignment, and are not obese (Body Mass Index (BMI) > 35, calculated by a formula that uses weight and height to measure body fat).
How does robotic technology improve the outcome for my partial knee replacement? Does this have a long term benefit?
Robotic technology can be used with partial knee replacements and helps the surgeon obtain normal alignment of the knee during surgery. It takes away the subjectivity in measurements for the prosthetic joint that can lead to error. It thereby allows optimal post-operative knee alignment, an important factor in longevity of the prosthesis.
Why would you suggest I consider a "patient specific" prosthetic as compared to a traditional prosthetic?
As with robotic partial knee replacement, the patient specific instrumentation (PSI) approach is an approach to Total Knee Replacement that assures proper postoperative alignment of the replaced knee. This again helps with longevity and long term outcomes.
Will there be any activities that I am not going to be able to do anymore long term after my replacement?
After a partial or total knee replacement patients are able to resume almost all of their previous activities. The only activities not recommend are running and exercises that involve repetitive jumping, as the repetitive stress from these activities can lead to early loosening of the prosthesis and early failure of the prosthetic component.
How long before I'm back to my activities of biking, hiking, skiing, golf? Does this depend on the type of replacement I have?
After a partial and total replacement and the necessary post- operative physical therapy that follows it, most patients are back to full activity by 34 months after their surgery However, everyone heals and progresses with their physical therapy differently some patients can be skiing at 6 weeks and others at 6 months.
What role does physical therapy play in the outcome of my surgery?
Physical therapy is important before and after surgery. If a patient goes into surgery with good motion and strength, post operative rehabilitation will be accelerated. Physical therapy visits prior to surgery can help with this. Postoperative physical therapy rehabilitation is essential to help decrease postoperative knee swelling and to optimize range of motion, strength, allowing a full return to function and activities.
Do I have any alternatives to having a knee replacement surgery?
We offer knee replacement only when all nonoperative management strategies, including medications (NonSteroidal Anti-Inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofin, analgesic medications such as Tylenol), physical therapy, bracing, weight loss, injections (steroids, hyluronic acid, platelets, stem cells) have failed. If, after trying these more conservative approaches, the patient still has pain, the option of joint replacement is discussed.
I am very active, and my active young friend tells me that her knees feel great after having had them replaced. She says that she can hear the "clunking" of the prosthesis in her knee at times, though it doesn't bother her. Will an outcome like this cause me problems?
"Clunking", if not associated with pain and swelling, is of no major concern. This is often noticed within the first three months after joint replacement surgery when muscle support is still weak and the metal and plastic of the prosthetic knee components can sometimes be felt.
With time and improved strength this predictably goes away. What types of knee replacements do you specialize in?
I specialize in partial knee replacement using the Makoplasty robotic system and in total knee replacement. I am an advocate of the patient specific prosthetic knee for total knee replacement, as this gives more predictable alignment which will affect long term outcome.