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Mako™ Partial Knee Provides A Solution For Chronic Joint Pain

By Peter R. Kurzweil, M.D.

With more than one million joint total knee replacement surgeries performed each year in the United States, the procedure has become one of the most common surgeries. A study by

Mayo Clinic revealed that 7.2 million Americans are living successfully with joint replacements.

Joint replacement surgery has allowed people to regain their quality of life by allowing for better mobility. Consider the word “replacement.” The knee is not actually “replaced” in surgery. It is actually a resurfacing operation, much like a dentist crowning a tooth. Very little tissue — and only the damaged, arthritic surfaces – are removed and replaced (resurfaced) during the procedure. Many physicians prefer to call the procedure a total knee arthroplasty, which means “resurfacing.”

Each patient is unique and they can experience joint pain for different reasons, although the cause is often osteoarthritis. If you suffer from hip or knee pain and have not experienced adequate relief with conservative treatment options from pills or injections or alternative options, you may be a candidate for joint replacement surgery. A thorough evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon can help explain the reasons for your joint pain. Once that is determined you can discuss the best treatment options for you with your surgeon.

One of the latest advancements in joint replacement technology is Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery and its applications, bringing a new level of precision to treating patients with knee and hip pain. Mako Technology provides a 3-D model of your unique anatomy to assist your surgeon in pre-planning and precise placement of knee and hip implants. Mako allows balancing of the soft tissue to provide the best range of motion and stability of the joint. This information is determined prior to the actual resurfacing.

For many patients, only half of the knee is arthritic and the rest is normal or near normal.

The Mako Partial Knee procedure allows the surgeon to resurface only part of the knee damaged by osteoarthritis, sparing the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it.

Patients that may be considered candidates for Mako Partial Knee may experience these symptoms:

• Knee pain with activity, which can be typically pinpointed to just one side of the knee

• Startup knee pain or stiffness when activities are initiated from sitting position

• Failure to respond to non-surgical treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication and injections

Mako Partial Knee is typically performed through an incision that is significantly shorter than the one used for a total knee. The preservation of the normal bone and cartilage and the ligaments, along with precision positioning of an implant may also result in a more natural feeling knee. Later in life, since healthy bone is preserved, patients who undergo Mako Partial Knee procedures may still be a candidate for a total knee replacement, although this is rarely necessary.

Other potential benefits of Mako include:

• Less implant wear and loosening

• Options of join resurfacing

• Bone sparing

• Smaller incision

• Less scarring

• Reducing blood loss

• Minimal hospitalization

Advancements in joint replacement surgeries, such as the Mako Technology, are allowing more people to become candidates for joint replacement surgery. Speak with a physician to determine if Mako Partial Knee (resurfacing) surgical procedures are right for you.

(Peter R. Kurzweil, M.D., is with the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center.)