Normal knees have smooth cartilage which covers three bones. This cartilage, which cushions the bones and allows for easy movement, is worn away in arthritic knees, causing the bones to rub against one another. This action produces pain, inflammation and a decrease in the range of motion, reducing physical activity.
Total knee replacement (knee arthroplasty) is a major procedure in which the injured or damaged surfaces of the knee may be replaced with artificial parts. Metal surfaces are fit to the bones, and a plastic tray is placed between them. Once in place, the metal components and the plastic allow for smooth, painless motion of the knee. This new alignment can also generally correct bow leg or knock knee deformities.
If arthritis has only damaged one side of the knee joint, surgeons can use a smaller incision and only resurface the one side of the affected joint, leaving the other side untouched. This preserves the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and allows for more normal motion of the knee.
With conventional knee replacement, an incision eight to 10 inches long is usually required. In performing the operation, the surgeon typically incises the quadriceps muscle and tendon in order to gain access to the knee joint. (The quadriceps form the muscle group that runs across the front of the thigh.)
With minimally invasive knee replacement the incision can be as small as four inches, and the knee joint is accessed with much less trauma to the quadriceps muscle and tendon. Because of this, less pain and a quicker recovery are possible. With this “quad-sparing” approach, the same time-tested knee implants that are utilized in traditional knee replacement can be used. Partial Knee Resurfacing, also called Partial Knee, Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty (PKA) or Unicondylar Knee Replacement, can also be performed using MIS techniques.
Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty (UKA) is a minimally invasive procedure for relieving arthritic knee pain and disability. With UKA, the damaged portion of the knee joint is resurfaced with metal and plastic implants. With UKA, only the damaged surface of the knee joint is replaced, minimizing trauma to healthy bone and ligaments.
In addition, because the UKA implants are much smaller than total knee replacement implants, the surgical incision can be significantly smaller as well. The surgeon removes the damaged bone from the affected side of the femur and tibia, and then fits the implants to the bone surfaces. A metal component is attached to the femur, and a metal and plastic one is applied to the tibia. Instead of bone rubbing on bone, metal now rubs on plastic.
For more information, please contact:
Joint Replacement Coordinator
Vista Medical Center East
1324 N. Sheridan Road
Waukegan, IL 60085