High Flex Knee Replacement - Surgical Procedure
The knee is the hinge joint consisting of three bones. The upper part of the hinge is at the end of the upper leg bone (femur), and the lower part of the hinge is at the top of the lower leg bone (tibia). When the knee is bent, the end of the femur rolls and slides on top of the tibia. A third bone, the kneecap (patella), glides over the front and end of the femur.
In a healthy knee joint, the surfaces of these bones are very smooth and covered with a tough protective tissue called cartilage. Osteoarthritis causes damage to the bone surfaces and cartilage where the three bones meet and rub together. These damaged surfaces can eventually become painful. There are several ways to treat the pain caused by osteoarthritis. One way is a total knee replacement surgery. The decision to have total knee replacement surgery should be made very carefully after consulting your doctor and learning as much as you can about the knee joint, osteoarthritis, and the surgery.
In some cases, the Flex Fixed Knee may be an option for total knee replacement. The basic surgical procedure for the Flex Fixed Knee is the same as for any other total knee replacement. In total knee replacement surgery, the bone surfaces and cartilage that have been damaged by osteoarthritis are removed and replaced with artificial surfaces made of metal and a plastic material. We call these artificial surfaces "implants," or "prostheses."
Getting to the Joint
The patient is first taken into the operating room and given anesthesia. After the anesthesia has taken effect, the skin around the knee is thoroughly scrubbed with an antiseptic liquid. The knee is flexed about 90 degrees and the lower portion of the leg, including the foot, is placed in a special device to securely hold it in place during the surgery. Usually a tourniquet is then applied to the upper portion of the leg to help slow the flow of blood during the surgery. An incision is then made that typically extends from just above the knee to just below the knee. The incision is gradually made deeper through muscle and other tissue until the bone surfaces are exposed.
Removing the Damaged Bone Surfaces
The damaged bone surfaces and cartilage are then removed by the surgeon. Precision instruments and guides are used to help make sure the cuts are made at the correct angles so the bones will align properly after the new surfaces (implants) are attached. Small amounts of the bone surface are removed from the front, end and back of the femur. This shapes the bone so the implants will fit properly. The amount of bone that is removed depends on the amount of bone that has been damaged by the osteoarthritis. A small portion of the top surface of the tibia is also removed, making the end of the bone flat. The back surface of the patella (kneecap) is also removed.
What is the benefit of the Flex Fixed Knee?
The Flex Fixed Knee is specifically designed to safely accommodate up to 155 degrees of flexion in patients who had this ability before surgery. This means that with appropriate rehabilitation a patient can resume an active lifestyle after total knee replacement – deeply bending the knee for recreational, religious and other day-to-day activities. Patients today want to continue their previous lifestyles – even after total knee replacement. The Flex Fixed Knee may be an option for many patients to help them achieve this goal.
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