Another Look at Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery

For over a year, we have been hearing a great deal about potential benefits of minimally invasive knee replacement surgery. However, according to a recent news release from the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, minimally invasive knee surgery may not be right for every patient choosing to undergo elective total knee replacement.

hospital-hand-1100587-mIf you are speaking with an orthopedic surgeon about having a total knee replacement, there is a decent chance you are discussing the risks and benefits of having the minimally invasive procedure. As the name implies, minimally invasive knee replacement involves using a smaller incision than in traditional or “open” total knee replacement and does not involve cutting as much muscle or other tissue surrounding the knee joint. This can result in a hospital stay that is shorter, as well as a shorter recovery period. There is also less blood loss, which can make the surgery safer in many cases. For these reasons, the Cleveland Clinic recommends you discuss this option with your surgeon.

On the other hand, traditional knee replacement surgery, which accounts for about 80 percent of all procedures, involves cutting significantly more tissue around the knee, a larger incision, longer recovery time, and more pain and blood loss than with minimally invasive surgery. It should be noted that neither surgery has better long-term results than the other.

While it seems minimally invasive surgery is preferable to traditional surgery, this is not always the case for every patient. There are many advantages to having traditional surgical procedures. The surgeon has more room to work and a better field of view with a larger incision. This means the doctor can better see to make sure the implant is properly aligned, which is essential to a good result. With patients who are significantly overweight or who have more deterioration of their existing knee joints, a traditional surgery may be more beneficial to the overall outcome. This is also true of patients who are very muscular, as this can make it harder for a surgeon to work and see during a minimally invasive surgery.

As our Boston knee replacement lawyers can explain, while your doctor should use his or her best judgment to help you make the best decision, a good result may be impossible if the artificial knee joint itself was defectively designed.   Even if the artificial knee is designed properly, we have seen instances where the medical device company made a defective cutting guide for surgeons to use when implanting the artificial knee. This cutting guide is needed to insure proper alignment, which is crucial to a successful outcome. An artificial knee that is not properly aligned can become loose and even fail completely, causing a need for a second surgery. If you are told you need a second, or subsequent, surgery, you should contact an experienced knee-replacement attorney as soon as possible to see if you have a case.

One example of a defective cutting guide was the Otis Knee manufactured by OtisMed, which is now owned by Stryker. An executive for this company knowingly shipped a cutting guide that the FDA had refused to approve and was sent to prison for this negligent action.

Call the Boston Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Why Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement May Not Be For You, August 10, 2015, Cleveland Clinic, by Carlos Higuera

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