A Perfect Joint: Precision Reigns with New Knee-Resurfacing Technique Cont.

MAKOplasty Offers Precision Knee Surgery with Significantly Smaller Incision Over Traditional Surgery

The partial knee replacement also involves an incision a third the size of traditional knee surgery and saves healthy bone, ligaments and tissues, unlike a total knee replacement. That can also translate to better function and faster recovery times, Hunt says.

MAKOplasty could be a breakthrough for some of the 27 million Americans living with osteoarthritis, a main contributor to disability in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In June, the system received a Gold Medical Design Excellence Award.

Karen Jara Looking for Knee Pain Relief and Improved Quality of Life

A constant, throbbing ache, periodically punctuated with stabbing pains, sent Jara in search of another option when injections failed to provide long enough relief. Arthritis in one knee, spurred by a meniscus surgery six years ago, prevented the active stay-at-home mom from snowshoeing and taking her daily three-mile dog walks, among other things. "I wanted some pain relief and some quality of life back," says Jara, 45.

Jara was a candidate for MAKOplasty because her arthritis was localized to two compartments. The knee has three compartments: the medial compartment on the inside, the lateral compartment on the outside, and the patellofemoral compartment in the front. If arthritis involves all compartments, it would require a total knee replacement.

Jara might someday need a total replacement, if her arthritis becomes aggressive, but if it does not, any of the three pieces implanted during MAKOplasty could be replaced, Hunt says. "And we’ve bought her another 10 or 15 years of a more active lifestyle," he says.

Laurie Cochrane Surprised by Her Rapid Recovery Period Following MAKOplasty

Laurie Cochrane, 57, of Lone Tree, came to Hunt this summer with two bad knees, one with arthritis localized in one compartment, one with arthritis in all three. Hunt first performed a total knee replacement on the advanced-arthritic knee, and then used MAKOplasty on the other knee. "The difference is five days after surgery on the MAKOplasty, I was off the walker," Cochrane says. "I was still using the walker two weeks after the total replacement."

Cochrane, whose arthritis is genetic, says she and her husband were both amazed at how much more quickly everyday activities came back to her with the second surgery, including being able to climb and descend stairs. And she says she’s ecstatic to be rid of the "nauseating" pain that had left her nearly immobilized.

Although Hunt advises them to refrain from high-impact activities, such as running, to extend the life of the resurfaced knee, his patients are back to swimming, golfing, skiing and playing tennis within weeks of surgery. "There’s very little they can’t do."

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