Deliver Your News to the World Presents: Computer-Assisted, Partial Knee Replacement Improves Patient Recovery Time


See Latest Developments in Virtual Orthopedic Surgery Techniques in Live Webcast From Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 4:30 pm EDT (20:30 UTC)
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- 04/22/2005 -- Virtual reality is aiding orthopedic surgeons at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in replacing arthritis-stricken single compartments of a knee without the patient having to endure a long surgery and recovery involved with a total knee replacement.

Computer-assisted, partial knee replacement makes it easier for orthopedic surgeons to replace diseased sections of the knee without performing a total knee replacement, said Peter F. Sharkey, M.D., associate professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

Knees absorb a great deal of physical stress over the course of a lifetime. They absorb countless impacts and may experience more significant injuries along the way, or may be subject to the effects of chronic conditions that contribute to their wear and tear. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, the influence of obesity or past athletic injuries, and other factors can disrupt the proper function of a knee.

By middle age, most people have at least some detectable arthritis in their knees. Ligaments may be damaged, cartilage that cushions the joint components may be worn away, and the spaces between different parts of the knee may be compressed, sometimes causing painful, bone-on-bone friction.

For some people these changes are minor, and may not pose a problem. For others, they are so severe as to make for a seriously compromised quality of life. With the aging of our population, an increasing number of people -- many of them otherwise healthy -- are undergoing or considering knee-joint replacement as the only curative option to save them from additional years of pain and debilitation.

Jefferson experts have worked with biomedical engineers to develop and test a computer system that creates an image of the exact position of the implant components within the knee during surgery. This sophisticated, spatial-reference system has been successful in producing exceptional surgical results for our patients. This development should give more orthopedic surgical groups the confidence to offer partial knee replacement.

The post-surgical recovery time for computer-assisted, partial knee replacement is about half the time of recovery for a total knee replacement -- three weeks, instead of the normal six weeks.

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