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Signature Knee Replacement

In the very successful field of knee replacement, performed over 70,000 times annually in the UK alone, one of the innovations is to try and match the knee replacement more closely to the individual person. There is a personal account of having a signature knee replacement in the Mail Online.

In standard knee replacement, an intervention with very high quality of life improvements even when compared to any other medical intervention, the surgeon chooses the components from a variety of standard sizes and uses the instruments developed by the maker of the implants. This works well in many cases but some people, especially women, may suit this method less well.

Biomet have developed the Signature System which uses an MRI scan to give a highly detailed and three dimensional image of the patients knee region, from which are developed customised positioning guides for the femur and the tibia. A larger number of size combinations is claimed for the related knee replacement system itself.

The idea is that the MRI gives a greater amount of precise detail to judge the position and alignment of the components, a crucial decision the surgeon has to make each time he replaces a knee. The positioning guides which result can be used outside the limb and so are not invasively inserted into the bones of the femur or the tibia, perhaps reducing a little the trauma in this variety of knee surgery.

Whatever the technique, knee replacement recovery is likely to take place over weeks and months, with patients having partial knee replacement perhaps having a speedier rehabilitation. Knee replacement complications are similar with all techniques, although reduced time under anaesthetic and reduced surgical trauma during operation must be helpful for recovery.

It is very important for a patient to be fully aware of the efforts needed after the operation to rehabilitate the joint, in cooperation with their physiotherapist. The physio will set a regime of knee replacement exercises and these may need to be followed for several months. Knee replacement cost is considerable, and the addition of an extended period of rehabilitation can add to this beyond the planned expenditure.

Because patients need to understand what has happened to the knee region during the operation it is useful to view a longer and more detailed knee replacement surgery video.

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