The majority of people who suffer from knee pain are not fully aware of all the options available to them or how some could negatively affect their lives following surgery. Many though, are familiar with total knee replacements as a major surgery designed to relieve the pain of widespread arthritis. However, for people with isolated damage, there are more effective options that are much less invasive than a total joint replacement. For example, the HemiCAP implant only restores the damaged area of the joint rather than replacing it entirely, allowing for considerably less bone removal. The team at Arthrosurface captured the following images to document just how drastically different the two procedures are.
To perform this experiment, two standard sawbone foam knee models were used. These are anatomically similar to a person’s knee joint.
A total knee replacement was implanted into one sawbone (left) and the Arthrosurface Patello-Femoral HemiCAP into the other (right).
After being implanted, both devices were taken out of the sawbones to examine the amount of bone that had been removed.
As you can see, the total joint replacement on the left removed a vast amount of bone. In addition to massive bone removal, traditional knee replacements also typically remove all cartilage, ligaments, usually the ACL, PCL, and both menisci in the knee. Because it is an artificial joint, the patient’s motion is no longer normal and activities can be severely limited.
The HemiCAP procedure removes significantly less bone (pictured on the right) while cartilage, all ligaments and soft tissue structures are left intact. Unlike the total replacement, the Arthrosurface solution is designed to protect the remaining, healthy cartilage in the joint and does not remove excessive bone or tissue. The patient’s natural anatomy is preserved, allowing patients to resume an active lifestyle without pain.
It is important to research ALL of your available options, educate yourself and get a second opinion if you are uncomfortable with the option presented by your surgeon. Below are some helpful questions you may want to ask your doctor if considering surgery:
- Will my joint feel normal and move naturally after I have the surgery?
- Will you remove my ACL?
- Is my cartilage damage localized?
- Is the alignment of my joint close to normal?
- Is my joint unstable?
- Do I have any joint space remaining?
- How long will I be hospitalized?
- Can the procedure be performed on an outpatient basis?
- Will the recovery take weeks or months?
- Can I go back to all my previous sports and activities?