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Innovations in Joint Replacement

Nearly two-thirds of all knee replacements are performed on women. So if you are a woman, wouldn’t it make sense to have a knee replacement that’s designed for a woman’s unique body and joints?

We think women should have a gender-specific technique. But until recently, surgeons had limited options for knee replacements. Now, thanks to state-of-the-art technology, women can get close to a custom fit. The gender knee replacement is contoured to fit a woman’s knee so women will have less discomfort and better function.

Partial knee replacement (usually called a unicompartmental replacement) is done if only part of the knee joint is damaged by arthritis. Think of the knee as having three compartments: an inside, outside, and a front compartment for the kneecap.

Most frequently, it is the inside compartment that becomes arthritic. The decision to perform a partial replacement is made only if other compartments have healthy, normal cartilage.

Hip resurfacing preserves more of your body’s natural bone structure and stability than traditional total hip replacements.

In the normal hip joint, the rounded head of the thighbone (the femoral head) moves smoothly inside the round socket of the hipbone. Normally, the socket is lined with cartilage, which helps the bones move smoothly. When there is damage to this joint, moving the femoral head may cause pain as the bones scrape together abnormally.

During hip resurfacing, your surgeon trims and caps your femoral head with a smooth metal covering, and removes the part of the damaged bone with the hipbone socket, replacing it with a metal shell.

This special technique can make a difference in your activity level post surgery and can potentially return you to a more physically active lifestyle. Hip resurfacing is not right for everyone. Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about this option.

About Anterior-Approach Hip Replacement

Through the use of a specially-designed table for anterior approach hip replacements, surgeons are able to reach the hip joint from the front of the patient rather than the side or back. With a smaller incision and minimal muscle disruption, this type of joint replacement helps the patient heal within a few weeks instead of the traditional two- to four-month recovery.

"This state-of-the-art table will change how hip replacements are performed," says William Hamilton, MD, chairman, orthopedics, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. "This anterior approach helps lessen pain and swelling, and helps the patient heal quickly. Patients who have had this procedure can walk the night of their surgery and usually leave the hospital the very next morning." Benefits of anterior-approach hip replacement procedures include:

  • Less trauma to hip and leg muscles
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Smaller incisions
  • Quicker recovery
  • Less pain