New Technique for Knee Replacement

There are two ways to perform a total knee replacement: The traditional approach and the newer minimally-invasive (sometimes called quadriceps-sparing) approach.

  • Traditional total knee replacement involves a roughly 8″ incision over the knee, a hospital stay of 3-5 days and inpatient rehabilitation setting before going home. The recovery period (during which the patient walks with a walker or cane) typically lasting from one to three months.
  • Minimally-invasive quadriceps-sparing total knee replacement is a new surgical technique that allows surgeons to insert the same time-tested reliable knee replacement implants through a shorter incision using surgical approach that avoids trauma to the quadriceps muscle which is the most important muscle group around the knee.
  • The less-traumatic nature of the surgical approach also may decrease post-operative pain and diminish the need for rehab and therapy compared to more traditional approaches.
  • Minimally invasive total knee replacement involves the use of a smaller incision than the one used in traditional knee replacement, the incision is only 4 to 6 inches long. Because there is less damage to the tissue around the knee, patients who undergo this procedure may expect a shorter hospital stay, a shorter recovery, and a better looking scar.

The main potential benefits of this new technique include:

  • More rapid return of knee function : – Patients who undergo this procedure seem to get muscle strength and control back more quickly than patients who have had traditional total knee replacement. This is because the quadriceps muscle and tendon are not divided in the course of the surgical exposure like in traditional knee replacement and the kneecap is not everted (flipped out of the way) as it is in traditional total knee replacement.
  • Smaller incision : – Traditional knee replacement incisions often measure 8” or longer; minimally-invasive quadriceps-sparing knee replacement incisions are about 4” in length for most patients.
  • Decreased post-operative pain : – This may be a function of the smaller incision and the fact that the incision stays out of the important quadriceps muscle/tendon group.
  • Same reliable surgical implants as Traditional Knee Replacement : – Much has been learned about implant design in the nearly 40-year history of contemporary knee replacement. Minimally-invasive quadriceps-sparing total knee replacement is an evolution of surgical technique which permits the use of time-tested implant designs. This gives some reassurance that while the surgical approach is new, the implants themselves have a good proven track record.