You’ve heard of total knee replacement and partial knee replacement, but a company called Arthrosurface is now offering a new kind of knee replacement implant for a procedure called knee resurfacing. TSAOG joint replacement specialist Dr. Richard L. Ursone sat down with me to discuss the Arthrosurface Femoral Condyle HemiCAP® system.
What is the Arthrosurface Femoral Condyle HemiCAP® system and how does it differ from total knee replacement and partial knee replacement?
Surgeons look at the knee as having 3 main compartments:
- Where the femur meets the tibia on the outside of the leg (lateral compartment)
- Where the femur meets the tibia on the inside of the leg (medial compartment)
- Where the kneecap (patella) meets the femur
In a total knee replacement, the articular cartilage is damaged over the entire surface of the knee joint, so the damaged area must be removed and replaced in each of the three compartments. This is most often the case with osteoarthritis of the knee, or degenerative joint disease, which we associate with aging.
In a partial (unicompartmental) knee replacement, the articular cartilage is only damaged in one compartment of the knee. This is most often due to post-traumatic arthritis, which is damage to the cartilage that occurs following an injury to the area. In these cases, the surgeon only replaces the damaged compartment of the knee, rather than all three.
The Arthrosurface Femoral Condyle HemiCAP® system is essentially a partial partial knee replacement called knee resurfacing. It is used in cases where damage to the cartilage of the knee is detected only on a small portion of one compartment of the knee. Knee resurfacing replaces only the damaged portion of the knee within the compartment, not the entire compartment.
Who would be a candidate for this type of knee replacement?
As in the case of partial knee replacement, patients eligible for the knee resurfacing will have cartilage deterioration in the area, most often following an injury, and limited to a small region within one compartment of the knee (on the femur).
Cartilage deterioration tends to affect a smaller area the earlier it is detected, so prospective patients for knee resurfacing also tend to be younger than for other kinds of knee replacement, generally 30-50 years old, and living an active lifestyle.
How long have you been performing this procedure and what results have you seen?
I have been performing this new procedure for the past year and have been amazed with the results. I have seen my patients experience excellent pain relief and an early return to full function of the knee.
What are the benefits of knee resurfacing over other knee replacement options?
For the right candidate, knee resurfacing offers several advantages. A smaller incision for a smaller implant means less disruption of the biomechanics of the bones and muscles of the knee, allowing for a faster recovery and return to active lifestyle with little to no restrictions. The minimally invasive procedure can also be performed on an outpatient basis, eliminating costly hospital stays. It also avoids removing bone from the knee, which is required for a traditional unicompartmental knee replacement.
What is your advice for people with persistent knee pain?
Not everyone with persistent knee pain needs a knee replacement, but many people put off seeking treatment because they are afraid that surgery will be their only option. If knee pain is limiting your activities, I urge you to consult a physician to find out what can be done to help. There are many nonsurgical and surgical options available.
If it turns out you do need a knee replacement, early detection of cartilage deterioration can limit the damaged area and affect the kind of replacement you will need.
If you’d like to learn more about knee replacement, visit our knee replacement page.
Dr. Richard L. Ursone is a board certified orthopedic surgeon with The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. He treats all orthopedic conditions, with the exception of the spine, for patients aged 1 year and up. His special interests include partial knee replacement, knee resurfacing, and arthroscopic knee surgery. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ursone, please call 210.281.9595 or schedule online.