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The Difference Between Open and Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement Procedures

If you find that you can’t move around as well as you once did, you may try options like physical therapy to improve your mobility. But the time may come when you run out of nonsurgical options and need to get your knee replaced. Knee replacement surgery is a very common procedure, with more than 600,000 such surgeries performed each year. 

When you and your doctor make the decision that you need a knee replacement, you then have to decide which type of procedure to have. Your two options are traditional open surgery and the newer minimally invasive approach. In this blog, the providers at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine explain more about these two options.

The top cause of knee replacement surgery

Knee replacements are common, and the top reason they’re performed is because of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage in the knee breaks down, which leads to bone-on-bone contact in the knee joint. Osteoarthritis can lead to: 

If you have osteoarthritis or another chronic condition that affects your knee, and conservative treatments don’t help, a knee replacement may be a good option.

Open surgery vs. minimally invasive surgery

Both types of surgery can give you the relief you need. Depending on your case, your provider will recommend the best type of surgery for you.

Traditional surgery

The traditional method of knee replacement surgery is “open” surgery. This means that a 6-10 inch incision is made over the front of the knee. About 70-80% of knee surgeries are done this way.

The advantage of this method is that it gives the surgeon a wide view of the area they will be operating on. The disadvantage of this method is that it cuts into your quadriceps muscle, which provides a lot of strength in your legs. Because of this, your recovery time may take longer.

Minimally invasive surgery 

Minimally invasive surgery uses a much smaller incision over the top of your knee, usually 5 inches or less. The advantage of this type of surgery is that it spares your quadriceps muscle, potentially allowing for a faster recovery.

The surgeon uses a small camera and special tools. These allow the surgeon to work within the smaller opening. Because of the advanced nature of this procedure, the surgeon must be highly skilled and operate with a high level of precision.

Less pain and more mobility

The good news is that no matter which type of surgery you have, more than 90% of people report a significant reduction in pain after undergoing knee replacement surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

If you’d like to be able to play golf or just walk your dog, knee replacement surgery can help you. After your knee replacement and physical therapy, you should be more mobile and have much less pain.

To learn more about knee replacement surgery, book an appointment online or over the phone with Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine today.

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