Q. Who needs a hip or knee replacement?
A. Hip and knee replacement procedures involve the replacement of a joint that’s causing pain from excessive wear or damage. The patient may have developed traumatic arthritis as the result of an injury; a degenerative joint disease known as osteoarthritis, which causes the breakdown of cartilage in the hip and knee joints; rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation in the synovial lining of the joint leading to retention of fluid on the joint; or other traumatic or degenerative conditions.
Q. When should hip or knee replacement be considered?
A. Historically, orthopedic surgeons encouraged patients to wait until later in life before exploring joint replacement procedures. Often, this was due to concerns about the durability of the replacement joints; if the artificial joint wears out, the patient is back to square one. Advancements in recent years have led to better alloys and composite materials, however, leading to artificial joints that last much longer than previous versions. This, coupled with the clinical advancements in joint replacement surgery like robotic arm-assisted surgery, has allowed younger and younger patients to take advantage of the benefits of joint replacement surgery.
Q. What’s the advantage to choosing robotic arm-assisted hip or knee surgery?
A. With robotic arm-assisted surgery platforms like the Stryker Mako system at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center, hip replacement, knee replacement and partial knee replacement begins with a CT scan of the patient’s affected joint. The CT uses a series of rapidly captured X-ray images to create a three-dimensional model of the patient’s individual hip anatomy. Using that model and the robotic arm, orthopedic surgeons can perform hip, knee and partial knee replacement procedures with unprecedented accuracy — removing the diseased bone and preserving healthy bone — and make smaller incisions, leading to more consistent outcomes and a more comfortable recovery for the patient.
Q. Are there other considerations in choosing robotic arm-assisted hip or knee surgery?
A. Joint replacement surgery isn’t the best approach for everyone, and not everyone who needs a hip or knee replacement is a candidate for robotic arm-assisted surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon can offer more insight into the best approach to alleviating the symptoms that necessitate a joint replacement. If it’s determined that a joint replacement procedure is the right course of treatment, consider the credentials of the surgical facilities you’re considering for the procedure. For instance, Tanner Ortho and Spine Center has earned the gold seal of accreditation from The Joint Commission’s Disease-specific Care Certification program for knee and hip replacement, certifying the center’s comprehensive approach to patient care and the staff’s commitment to using evidence-based practices and providing patient satisfaction. The center is also recognized as a Blue Distinction Specialty Care provider for hip and knee replacement surgery by Blue Cross, Blue Shield.
For more information, visit TannerOrtho.org. To find an orthopedic specialist on staff with Tanner Ortho and Spine Center, call 770-214-CARE (2273).