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Dr. Bowman: 'Arthritis Pain? Don't Wait Too Long for a Hip or Knee Replacement'

Dr. Bowman: 'Arthritis Pain? Don't Wait Too Long for a Hip or Knee Replacement'

If you suffer from knee or hip osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, at what point should you seriously consider having joint replacement surgery?

“You should consider surgery when pain is severely affecting your activities, you’re not responding to nonsurgical treatment and you’re healthy,” said fellowship-trained hip and knee specialist Erik C. Bowman, MD, of the Boulder Centre for Orthopedics during a free health lecture.

“But don’t wait too long. If you’re in your eighties and healthy, don’t be afraid to have these surgeries. If you wait, you may not be healthy enough to withstand the surgery,” he added.

Video: Watch “Innovative Treatments for Painful Hips and Knees”

Options for Excellent Pain Relief Now Available

More than 1 million total hip and total knee replacement procedures are performed each year in the United States, making it one of the most performed orthopedic procedures.

“Knee and hip replacements are becoming more common. Between 2005 and 2015 there had been an exponential increase, and this will continue as Baby Boomers and Generation X grow older,” according to Dr. Bowman. “Also, we are replacing knees and hips in younger and older people than we have in the past, because they are more active and technology has advanced.”

He said, “We worry less about the implants wearing out now because of improved technology. Modern implants should last more than 25 years, even if you’re very active.”

Specific hip and knee procedures include:

  • Partial and Total Knee Replacement - If you have early-to-mid-stage osteoarthritis in the knee, and the damage is isolated to just one or two compartments of the joint, a partial knee replacement may be an option for you.

    During the procedure, only the worn-out portion of the joint is replaced with an artificial implant, leaving the rest of the joint alone, which helps to spare healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it.

    More advanced arthritis often requires the more advanced surgical option of total knee replacement. The procedure involves replacing all three compartments of the knee: the end surface of the femur and tibia are replaced with a metal implant and the patella is resurfaced with a plastic implant.
  • Hip Replacement: Anterior Approach for a Quicker Recovery - Dr. Bowman went into details about the technique he often uses for hip replacement, called direct anterior hip replacement. In this approach, the surgeon accesses the hip joint by making a 4- or 5-inch incision at the front of the hip, near the groin.

    He explains, “Direct anterior total hip replacement is becoming more popular because it’s minimally invasive, allows access to the hip without detaching muscles and tendons, and minimizes the risk to the nerves. Traditional hip replacement surgery involves an incision on the side or back of the hip and involves detaching muscles and tendons, which can be more painful and requires a longer recovery and hospital stay.”

One Mako System for Three Types of Procedures

Mako robotic-arm-assisted surgery is used for three types of surgery: partial knee resurfacing, total knee replacement and total hip replacement. It has dramatically improved hip and knee replacements by allowing for the highly accurate positioning and alignment of joint implants.

Mako-assisted surgeries result in:

  • significantly less pain, blood loss, and scaring
  • shorter surgery recovery time
  • faster return to normal daily activities

How the Mako Process Works

The Mako process starts with a CT scan of the joint; this is used to generate a 3D virtual model of the patient’s unique anatomy. The 3D model is then loaded into the Mako system software to create a personalized pre-operative plan for positioning the new hip or knee components.

In the operating room, the surgeon follows the personalized plan to position the implant.

Dr. Bowman explained, “While the surgeon still performs the surgery, the Mako system guides the surgeon and helps prevent the surgeon from moving outside the planned boundaries. This results in highly accurate placement and alignment of the implant and a more natural feeling joint.”

Dr. Bowman further explained, “The benefit of the Mako system over other options is it creates highly reproducible total joint replacement and protects all of the ligaments that surround the joint so that the surgeon doesn’t need to cut through them. Most patients are released within 24 hours of surgery if they have no medical issues or pain, can walk 100 feet, go up and down stairs and get out of bed.”

Click here to view/download a PDF of slides shown during the lecture on "Innovative Treatments for Painful Hips and Knees."

To schedule an appointment with Erik C. Bowman, MD, with the Boulder Centre for Orthopedics, call 303-857-5181.

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