The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Senior Outlook

July 6, 2011

Dr. Derek Miller, columnist: Knee replacement surgery no longer 'one size fits all'

JOPLIN, Mo. — Walking is one of the most effortless tasks we perform each day. But for many, the simple chore of putting one foot in front of the other is a source of pain and discomfort.

Knee pain prohibits all types of daily activities, especially walking. For some, nonsurgical treatment no longer provides adequate relief from the pain, stiffness, and swelling.

For those individuals, it may be time to discuss with an orthopaedic surgeon the benefits of a total knee replacement.

A surgical procedure undergone by more than half a million Americans each year, total knee replacement provides a brand new artificial knee to replace the diseased or worn-out knee joint.

For more than a year, surgeons at Freeman Midwest Orthopaedics have used a cutting-edge technology in the field of knee replacement. The Visionaire system, released in 2010 and introduced by Freeman Midwest Orthopaedics, uses magnetic resonance imaging and X-ray to create custom-made instruments used to replace a patient’s knee. Each person’s individual structure, unique shape, and angles are factored in, giving the knee replacement precise alignment.

Gone is the one size fits all approach; instead, a computer-engineered replacement is crafted specifically for each individual. In addition, there is a substantial reduction in time spent under anesthesia because, in the past, surgeons would sculpt and mold the knee replacement during surgery. Because this implant is designed with computer precision, many steps can be eliminated during surgery, thus decreasing surgical risks. This precision also reduces the risk of misalignment and gives the implant a much longer life.  

 Freeman Health System also features Operation Education, a presurgical education program that helps make surgery as smooth as possible. Those who participate in Operation Education learn what to expect during their hospital stay, how they can assist in the recovery process, and what to anticipate after returning home. Through Operation Education, patients undergoing knee replacement become familiar with the procedure, are able to address their questions, and can learn what modifications, if any, are needed to their home, such as rails to assist in the bathroom.

Dr. Derek Miller, Freeman orthopaedic surgeon, is board-certified and completed a yearlong fellowship in adult reconstructive surgery, joint preservation, and joint replacement.

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