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News

September 8, 2006

Latest Technology in Knee Replacement Used at Maury Regional Hospital

New options now available for women

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Three of the first gender-specific knee replacements done in Tennessee were performed at Maury Regional Hospital by H. James Wiesman, Jr., M.D.  The Gender Solutions ™ knee femoral implant, which received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this spring, is designed to address the unique anatomical needs of women.

The knee implant was designed based on three distinct and scientifically documented shape differences between women’s and men’s knees.  A sophisticated and highly detailed map of the female knee joint was created using three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) imaging. The implant’s goals include alleviating knee pain and restoring mobility, while offering fit and function that is optimized for the characteristics more commonly seen in female patients.

“We are very fortunate at Maury Regional Hospital to have access to and to be among the first in Tennessee to implant the gender-specific female total knee.  I am very excited and pleased with the results my patients are having with the gender-specific female total knee.  They are having earlier pain relief, more rapid rehabilitation and recovery, and are returning to daily activities sooner,” said Dr. Wiesman.

Knee replacements have long been available in many sizes, but merely using a different size for women does not resolve anatomical differences. Various studies show that women’s knees significantly differ in shape from men’s knees. Pioneering research precisely maps out those differences and is the foundation for the design and development of the Gender Solutions Knee. Benefits include:

  • placement using minimally invasive procedures, which typically offer smaller scars, shorter hospitalization and quicker rehabilitation and recovery; and
  • safely accommodates high flexion (up to 155 degrees), which is necessary for many activities, such as climbing stairs, sitting in a chair, gardening and golfing.

Three Distinct Differences

The Gender Solutions High-Flex Knee Implant addresses the following three research-documented, shape-related differences of a woman’s knee:

  • Narrower Shape, Proportioned to Female Anatomy: When determining the appropriate-sized implant, surgeons measure the end of the femur from front to back and from side to side. Women’s knees typically are narrower from side to side, and are more trapezoid-shaped, whereas men’s knees are more rectangle-shaped. Surgeons typically choose the implant size based on the front-to-back measurement, which is key in allowing the knee to move and flex properly. However, an implant that fits a woman’s knee from front to back often will be too wide from side to side, leading to the implant overhanging the bone and potentially pressing on, or damaging, surrounding ligaments and tendons, possibly causing pain. The Gender Solutions High-Flex Knee is proportionally contoured to the entire bone to provide a more precise fit.
  • Thinner Shape: The bone in the front of a woman’s knee is typically less prominent than in a man’s knee. Therefore, when a traditional implant is used to replace the damaged bone, the joint may end up feeling and functioning better than before surgery but still feel “bulky,” which may result in pain and decrease optimal function. The Gender Solutions Implant is thinner in shape in the front so the knee replacement more appropriately matches the natural female anatomy.
  • More Natural Tracking: The angle between the pelvis and the knee affects how the kneecap tracks over the end of the femur as the knee moves through a range of motion. Women tend to have a different angle than men due to their specific shape and contour. Historically, implants have been designed based on an average between the size of women’s and men’s knees. The Gender Solutions Knee Implant was designed to accommodate the different tracking angle and function more like a woman’s natural knee.

Patient Melinda Delk was excited to discover that she could have a knee implant specifically designed for women.  “I had osteoarthritis for four or five years. My knee was down to bone on bone and I had a very bad limp.  When Dr. Wiesman told me we were going to do the new female specific implant, I was thrilled. I had surgery on Wednesday and was up walking the next day with less of a limp than I had before.”

Rosemary Hinson, another patient who recently had the surgery, is looking forward to the future. “The pain was so bad that I couldn’t do a lot of things I used to do.  If I went shopping, I could only go into one store because of the pain when I walked.  This surgery will really improve my quality of life.”

Nearly two-thirds of the more than 400,000 annual knee replacement patients are women, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and the numbers continue to increase each year. Research shows that while both women and men delay knee replacement, women are less likely than men to undergo the procedure, although they suffer from more knee pain and resulting disability. Talk to your physician to see if gender-specific knee replacement is right for you.

Maury Regional Hospital in Columbia, Tennessee is a 275-bed not-for-profit regional medical center established in 1953. The JCAHO-accredited hospital has a medical staff of 157 physicians, representing more than 30 specialties, and serves approximately 250,000 residents in southern Middle Tennessee. It is the flagship hospital for a system with additional facilities in Spring Hill, Hohenwald, Lewisburg and Waynesboro. For more information, visit www.mauryregional.com.

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