Female Knee Replacements
Designed specifically to fit a woman’s knee, female knee replacements have been available only in recent years. Prior to 2006, when the Gender Solutions knee was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), knee replacements were unisex—designed to fit both men and women.
However, some surgeons found that women who received conventional knee implants were more likely than men to complain of pain in the front of the knee or tightness and tenderness when they kneeled or squatted. A possible reason: Women’s hips are wider and their knees longer and thinner than men’s, so that the implant sits at a slightly different angle. To better mimic the anatomy of most women, the female knee replacement is narrower, thinner, and more contoured than unisex replacements.
Should women get the female knee? Not necessarily. First, studies are still needed to determine whether the female knee reduces the likelihood of pain, tightness, and tenderness. Second, because other available implants come in a range of sizes that will accommodate almost any person’s anatomy, most orthopedic surgeons say they’re really not necessary—at least until study data show a clear benefit.
More on Knee Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement is called arthroplasty, and the most common type of arthroplasty is total joint replacement. In this procedure, the entire diseased or damaged knee joint is removed and replaced with an artificial one (a prosthesis) to relieve pain and restore function.
Knee replacement surgery is not a quick fix, and it is not without risks. Serious complications, such as blood clots and infections, can occurbut precautions can be taken to prevent or control them. In addition, the road to recovery can be difficult and time consuming, particularly with joint replacement surgery.
Some people may worry that they are too old too benefit from having a total knee replacement. But even osteoarthritis patients 75 and older appear to benefit greatly from joint replacement surgery, as a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine has indicated. Researchers followed 174 elderly patients with severe knee or hip osteoarthritisaverage age 75for 12 months, assessing them at six weeks, six months, and one year.
Surgeons continually seek ways to make joint replacements and repairs easier, safer and less arduous for the patient. A number of new techniques are currently under development.
Successful knee replacement requires a considerable investment of time and energy in rehabilitation following the surgery. Rehabilitation begins in the hospital, usually the day after surgery. During this period, a strict timetable of exercise, rest, and medication is crucial to the success of the surgery.
If you are facing a knee replacement or have had one, you should talk to your physician about the risks of physical activity, such as a loosening or dislocation of the replacement and the possible need for a repeat surgery. Chances are, though, that a knee replacement wont halt your golf game or drive you from the bowling lanes.