ConforMIS News

  • Mittwoch, 6/22/11

    New knee procedure eases woman’s pain (Capital Gazette)

    Irene DeHan was pregnant with her third child when she twisted her leg walking down stairs, resulting in chronic pain.

    For nearly 20 years, the Gambrills resident had to endure a right knee that hurt so badly it woke her in the middle of the night and jutted out so far she appeared bowlegged. Surgeons and specialists told her options were limited, since her injury was bone on bone.

    So she endured the pain until she learned she was a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure that would place a customized device within her knee. DeHan had the procedure done this spring and continues to undergo physical therapy, but no longer has the pain.

    The new procedure has a shorter recovery time than a total knee replacement, and doctors said it is an option for patients who fear invasive surgery.

    „I would wake up five times a night because I wouldn’t know how“ to lie down, DeHan said.

    The new procedure, she said, „was a glimmer of hope. I was in extreme pain, and it seems like the pain was almost always at night. My leg was so bowed, and even though I tried not to let it bother me, I did realize how bad it looked. It wasn’t fun anymore to wear shorts.“

    Each year, there are more than 580,000 knee replacements in the United States, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The most common cause of chronic knee pain is arthritis, which also can develop following a serious knee injury.

    Total knee replacement surgery involves a large incision that moves the kneecap out of the way and takes out the ligaments that control motion. The patients are in the hospital for at least three days, physical therapy is required and it takes three months for the knee to heal.

    But many patients with knee problems do not require a total replacement. Some, like DeHan, need only a partial knee replacement.

    The knee has three parts, the inside, the outside and under the kneecap. A majority of patients have problems with the inside of the knee, which affects the joint’s alignment, said Dr. Barry Waldman, who did DeHan’s procedure.

    „The inside wears out quicker. It’s like a car tire,“ said Waldman, who has offices around Baltimore. „A lot of times, we can treat without surgery … and physical therapy to improve the pain. But once the knee gets so bad that it stops working, we offer the surgery to them.“

    A partial knee replacement involves a 45-minute procedure that calls for a 3-inch incision. Less bone and cartilage is removed during the surgery, and patients are able to leave the hospital the same day. With DeHan, doctors used 3-D computer imaging to implant a knee resurfacing device.

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