Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Knee Arthritis/Replacement is one of the most common conditions treated by orthopedic surgeons and it is often the most misunderstood. Heavy marketing has led to surgeons trying to sell “minimally invasive” procedures as tools to bring in more patients. The drive for volume is in part a result of CMS driving down payments by 41% to surgeons over the last 20 years.
The term minimally invasive dates back to the early 2000s when cutting blocks for knee replacements were miniaturized allowing smaller incisions. The term became focused on incision location and preservation of the quadriceps. The standard midline incision was modified to a quad sparing deep approach and eventually was abandoned for a lateral approach and most recently a medial parapatellar approach. Other variations exist but the medial parapatellar incision has had the greates impact on quality. This last method has cut inpatient stays to same day discharge up to a maximum of 1 day. It spares the quadriceps and provides rapid recovery of mobility.
There is a great deal of history in knee replacement full of failed marketing ploys. Understanding the real pros and cons of a surgical method or technique requires patient education and commitment. Make your choices based on facts and not on a glossy marketing piece. To quote GI Joe, knowing is half the battle.