Dr. Richard Berger, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Rush Presbyterian Medical Center in Chicago, is a pioneer of the new technique.He
predicts that five years from now, almost all surgeons will be performing the minimally invasive procedure."There's really no downside, only an upside," he
Berger estimates that only about 3 percent of orthopedic surgeons in the United States are currently doing the minimally invasive knee procedure.But as more complete the necessary training, they'll jump on the bandwagon, he
"At some point almost every orthopedic surgeon is going to be doing this surgery," he
No Muscle or Tendon Damage
In traditional knee-replacement surgery, Berger
explained, the length of the incision varies, typically between 8 inches to 10 inches."The quadriceps [front of the thigh] muscle is cut or split, the kneecap is flipped over and that exposes the knee.The bone is cut and sized, and the [artificial] knee replacement is put in."
With the new technique, "we make an incision that is 3.5 inches or so," Berger
The traditional approach requires 12 to 14 weeks of physical therapy, Berger
The hospitalization time with traditional surgery is about four days, Berger
does the new surgery on an outpatient basis, but other doctors admit their patients to a hospital for the operation.
Not for Everyone
Even advocates such as Bonutti and Berger
acknowledge that not everyone is a candidate for the surgery.
People who have already had extensive surgery on their knee may not be good choices, said Berger
."And those who are morbidly obese may not be," he
But for most patients, the new approach represents a breakthough, Berger