As we age, the pain in our joints can become more of a nuisance and may require medical attention. More people are becoming active earlier in life, causing their joints to wear out sooner. According to recent data, 1 in 3 people born today will live to be 100 with the average lifespan around 80 years old. Although total joint replacements may last 20 years in older, more sedentary patients, data has shown that replacements in younger patients tend to wear out much sooner with rehab lasting six months or longer. While there are conservative treatments, often times these fail after a few years and the patient is in need for something more durable. Nevertheless, because they are still young and active they are not ideal candidates to receive a total joint. Today’s increasing lifespans, along with patients wanting a bridging solution for their joint pain, creates a major treatment dilemma for orthopedic surgeons.
On the conservative end, common treatment options for early joint disease include physiotherapy, pain medications, cortisone, arthroscopy and cartilage grafts. The patients who have received these treatments are typically middle-aged and have lifestyles that don’t permit significant downtime. Many are also physically active but often suffer joint pain during activity. Unfortunately, the rehab for many of these procedures can be lengthy and don’t always yield positive long-term results. This can be very frustrating for patients who are looking for day surgery treatments that allow them to stay active with a short recovery period.
On the opposing end of treatment options is a total joint replacement, which is considered a very invasive procedure. In a total joint surgery, doctors remove large amounts of bone and tissue and replace them with metal and plastic implants. Because it is an artificial joint, the patient’s motion will no longer be normal and most high-level activities will be restricted. While total joint replacements may be a reliable end stage procedure, published data shows that 1 in 5 patients continue to be dissatisfied with their outcomes. Even if a joint replacement is successful compromises to an active lifestyle may be permanent.
Arthrosurface® designed the HemiCAP® technology to help “bridge the gap” that exists between early treatments and joint replacement surgery. In orthopaedics, patients are normally considered too old for biologic treatments if they are over 40 years old but too young for a joint replacement if they are under 65 years old. If you are experiencing joint pain and fall within this age gap, you may have a new option, the Arthrosurface® HemiCAP®.
Unlike a total joint replacement, the surgical procedure for the HemiCAP® implant can be performed on an outpatient basis, requires significantly less bone removal and the post-op rehab program allows a quicker recovery to full mobility. Because the HemiCAP® allows the surgeon to restore only the damaged area of the joint, the patient’s anatomy and range of motion is preserved. The main goals of the procedure are pain relief, return to active lifestyle and to delay or completely avoid a joint replacement in the future.