Currently, total knee replacement is one of the most common types of orthopedic surgery.
It ensures credible results in patients suffering from severe tri-compartment osteoarthritis, whose symptoms persist despite using all conservative and non-invasive treatments.
These include weight loss, physical activity, physiotherapy and administration of pain killers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Other common alternative treatments include intra-articular hyaluronic acid, corticosteroid and platelet injections, food supplements, etc.
Although this progressive condition, marked with gradual degradation and loss of joint cartilage is the most common reason for undergoing arthroplasty surgery (estimated annual incidence of 240 per 100,000 persons), there are also other diagnoses which may require joint replacement.
These include inflammatory arthritis, fracture, (post-traumatic osteoarthritis and/or deformity), dysplasia and malignancy.
Initially, total replacement was an operation intended for elderly patients with reduced mobility needs.
Nowadays it is also used in younger patients and has ensured consistently positive results, pain relief, functional restoration and prevention of disability.
What are the benefits of total knee replacement for patients?
In the last four decades there have been significant breakthroughs in the performance of total knee replacement, offering better quality of life for patients.
Thanks to improved implant design, the development of suitable tools and changes to preoperative and postoperative protocols, surgery outcomes are now outstanding.
Given the complexity and kinetics of the joint, and effort was made to develop appropriate implants and achieve natural movement. Now these goals have been attained and are still being perfected.
As a result, there is better patient satisfaction, which is due to proper preoperative evaluation, improved surgical techniques and technological and orthopedic research developments.
Total shoulder replacement is now an operation offering long-term results for an estimated almost 3.5 million people subjected to it annually.
What patients meet the requirements for surgery?
Before making a decision, the relevant risks and benefits should be weighed in each case.
Given the numerous factors that can affect the prosthesis, before using total shoulder replacement, the patient’s history should be taken and they should be subjected to clinical testing and diagnostic imaging examinations.
Account should be taken, among other things, of previous joint replacements, arthroscopic or other operations around the knee, as previous surgical scars may affect surgical approach planning.
Moreover, patients with a history of previous injury or surgery may develop mechanical axis deformity or knee instability.
In recent years, the state-of-the-art method is computer-assisted total knee replacement as it holds multiple advantages.
This method is better as it helps avoid muscle injury and postoperative scars, also ensuring minimal postoperative pain, lower blood loss, faster patient mobilization and shorter hospital stays.
All these advantages help the patient recover faster after the operation and get back to their day-to-day activity earlier.
Digital guidance in performing total knee replacement also offers further benefits for the patient.
These include precision in terms of both placement of the tibial and femoral implants and overall mechanical alignment.
There has also been a significant difference in the number of revision operations required after computer-assisted total knee replacement compared to non-guided operations.
Statistics show that the latter results in a lower total rate of revisions owing to loosening / detachment of the prosthesis in patients aged even below 65.
As it guarantees better outcomes, this method has been the standard tool in all total knee replacement operations.
How is total hip replacement carried out using the OrthoKey system?
OrthoKey is the state-of-the-art system in computer-assisted total knee replacement as it provides the tools for limb alignment and proper soft tissue balance, which are crucial for the long-term survival of the implant.
It also allows for surgery planning on the basis of the patient’s anatomical data, offers detailed guidance for better completion of each step of the surgery and credible results.
It is a bloodless technique that reduces the duration of the operation (and, therefore, the likelihood of inflammation) and allows for immediate patient mobilization.
Moreover, smaller tools are used for the operation, thus minimizing injury and postoperative pain and ensuring faster recovery.
It also offers multiple benefits for the surgeon, which have an impact on the patient too.
It is a friendly, easy-to-use and reliable guidance system that offers precise and reproducible implant placement and requires no axial tomography.
The importance of all these factors is significant and crucial with regard to the overall longevity of the prosthesis, which is affected by a number of considerations relating both to the patient and the technique used.
However, despite the advancement of the techniques and technology used, the risk of failure of the surgery, which may require revision ten years after the initial operation, is not eliminated, standing approximately at 5%.
The most common indications include aseptic loosening (29.8%), infection (14.8%) and pain (9.5%).
As surgery rates in the young and older alike keep increasing, thanks to the use of these advanced technological systems and methods, patients may expect outstanding results, thus being able to remain active and independent for more years to come.