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What is New in Knee Replacement

For a patient considering knee replacement surgery, there are new developments which can help enhance their quality of life. These include:

  • The use of a more durable plastic bearing (polyethylene insert). This will enhance the life of the implant by reducing wear. This allows younger, more active patients to enjoy the benefits of a knee replacement without worrying about early wearing out of the knee replacement parts and needing multiple revision surgeries.
  • The design of the polyethylene plastic insert that in effect becomes the new cushion in the knee was improved and more options offered. This change allowed the surgeon to more easily tighten and balance the ligaments of the knee that control stability and motion.
  • Development of knee systems with more size options (in-between sizes are offered) to better match patient anatomy, and allowing for a "custom-fit" of the implant to all patients of both sexes and of all body type.

Patients need be aware that in the era of marketing and direct consumer advertising, several unsubstantiated claims of superior design and fixation of knee replacement parts exist. Such claims do not have much evidence to support long-term effectiveness or superiority of these implants. My advice to patients is to research the knee replacement part that is being offered (robotic, CT based, MRI based, cement-less) to find out if its use is based on sound medical evidence.