Woman specific knee
The “Gender specific Knee” a High flex knee replacement implant specially designed for women was introduced for the first time in South India in Chennai at the Bharathiraja hospital by Dr.A.K.Venkatachalam, consultant Orthopaedic surgeon. The patient is a 43 year old South Indian housewife who has been suffering from bilateral knee osteoarthritis. Women like her constitute 2/3rds of patients undergoing knee replacement. Until now, the implant used in a Total knee replacement was designed from the average measurements between men and women’s knees. The Gender specific knee is unique as it has been developed to conform to the anatomy of the female knee.
Osteoarthritis of knees is widely prevalent in India. Obesity, injuries, aging, infections are the leading causes. On a rough estimate about 13000 patients undergo a knee replacement every year in India with an increase of 25 % each year. Awareness of the benefits conferred by a joint replacement and increasing span of life is leading to the wider acceptance of a Total knee replacement. Knee replacements are extremely gratifying procedures to a patient suffering from painful osteoarthritis. Nevertheless some women who had undergone a knee replacement were not entirely satisfied. They complained that the knee felt bulky and just did not move naturally.
Hitherto implant designs were based upon average measurements of men & women’s knees. A Although it has been observed that there are anatomical differences between men and women, only now some of these differences have been incorporated in knee implant design, says Dr.Venkatachalam. Women’s knees are not just a smaller version of men’s knees but are different in shape. They are narrower from side to side at the lower end of the thigh bone. Since women have wider hips, the angle at which the knee cap rides is more in women. The front part of the knee is less prominent and less bone is resected from the front of the female knee during a knee replacement. These features have been incorporated into the latest knee design. The prosthesis is implanted by highly successful technique of minimally invasive surgery in which the scar is about 4- 5 inches only. It also confers the maximum flexibility as the user can bend the knees to 155 degrees. This deep knee bend is required for activities like kneeling, sitting cross legged, gardening, sitting on a low chair and Indian toilet. Hence it has been aptly called Gender specific High flex knee replacement
This implant was introduced in the US last May and has since undergone 100000 successful implantations. Dr.Venkatachalam is the first Indian surgeon to perform this operation independently in South India. Hopefully this should be good news for women waiting to have a knee replacement and more widespread acceptance would arise, says Dr.Venkatachalam.