If you have severe arthritis or a serious knee injury, you may be offered knee replacement surgery. This involves removing the damaged section of knee joint and replacing it with a prosthetic implant. This type of surgery is a routine procedure that can help you to regain your mobility and quality of life.
What is knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery is normally only offered once other less invasive methods have been tried. This is because all surgery carries a certain degree of risk. There are two types of knee replacements:
- Total knee replacement (also known as total knee arthroplasty) involves removing all three compartments of the knee joint – the medial, lateral and patellofemoral – and replacing them with an artificial implant.
- Partial knee replacement (also known as a unicondylar knee replacement) is offered to people who only have one compartment of the knee that is affected by arthritis (usually the medial compartment). It involves replacing only the affected part of the knee and leaving the remaining compartments as well as the ligaments intact.
There are pros and cons to each approach, which your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss with you. Partial knee replacement involves less dissection of bone and soft tissue, less blood loss and faster recovery. However, there is a higher risk of needing revision surgery (repeating the procedure in the future due to failure of the implant). This can be more complicated that primary surgery and tends to have poorer outcomes.
What are prosthetic knee implants?
A prosthetic knee implant is an artificial knee joint that is used to replace your damaged joint. Joseph Queally used the Triathlon Knee System, developed by Stryker Orthopaedics.
Triathlon knee implants have been used in more than three million patients around the world over the last 15 years and deliver excellent performance and high patient satisfaction levels.
Components of the knee implant
The Triathlon Total Knee System is a popular knee implant designed to work with the individual patient’s body. It has a single radius of curvature which increases the range of motion of the artificial knee joint. This single radius design has shown superior performance in stability, walking, stair climbing and knee straightening compared to multi-radius knee implants. In patient satisfaction studies, the Triathlon achieves high levels at seven years post-surgery.
The system offers the orthopaedic surgeon a variety of different options so we can tailor your knee joint to your particular needs. For example, we may choose cruciate retaining, condylar-stabilising, posterior-stabilising or other options based on the extent of disease, deformity and the demands of your lifestyle. We use surgical instruments that have been specifically designed to work with the Triathlon implants and there are different surgical techniques according to what is most suitable for the individual patient.
The Triathlon titanium cementless implants have performed particularly well in trials and offer a beneficial alternative to traditional cemented models, particularly among younger more active patients or overweight patients who tend to have a higher rate of failure of their implants leading to the need for revision joint replacement surgery.
How long to knee implants last?
In a 10-year follow-up study, Triathlon implants achieved a survival rate of 99%. Stryker has incorporated many of the most frequently studied features of its previous designs into this state-of-the-art prosthetic implant, which had been shown to reduce the chances of needing revision surgery caused by instability, patellofemoral tracking complications and loosening of the implant. The Triathlon implant has a maximum of 7% revision rate, which is very low.
If you are due to undergo knee replacement surgery with us, beforehand Joseph Queally will discuss the details of your procedure and the different treatment options. If you would like more information please contact us.