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What is Muscle-sparing Knee Replacement?

Muscle-sparing knee replacement, also known as quadriceps-sparing knee replacement, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that introduces knee implants through a smaller incision than thattypically seen in traditional knee replacement, thus preventinginjury to the quadriceps muscle and tendon.

Anatomy of the Knee

The knee is made up of 3 main bones, the thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia) and kneecap (patella). The lower end of the thighbone meets the upper end of the shinbone at the knee joint. A small disk of bone called the patella (kneecap) rests on a groove on the front side of the femoral end. The bones are held together by protective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Synovial fluid within the joint aids in the smooth movement of the bones over one another. The meniscus, a soft crescent-shaped area of cartilage between the femur and tibia, serves as a cushion and helps absorb shock during motion.

Indications for Muscle-sparing Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery is commonly indicated for osteoarthritis of the knee causing severe knee pain that limits daily activities. It may also be indicated for:

  • Osteonecrosis
  • Severe knee injury or fracture
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Bone tumor

Young and healthy individuals who are not overweight, and who are willing to participate in rehabilitation, are good candidates for muscle-sparing knee replacement

Procedure for Muscle-sparing Knee Replacement

Muscle-sparing knee replacement is a minimally invasive technique focused on relieving pain and restoring function to the knee. In this procedure, incisions of 3 to 5 inches in length are made instead of the 8 to 12-inch incisions used in traditional surgery. The procedure of muscle-sparing knee replacement includes:

  • You will lie on your back for the procedure.
  • Spinal or general anesthesia is administered
  • Your doctor will make a small incision over the affected knee and the knee joint will be exposed.
  • The quadriceps muscles and tendons are separated but not cut, in order to access the damaged tibia and femur. The damaged portions of the tibia and femur are removed. The remaining bone is reshaped and the implant components are attached with or without cement.
  • A plastic insertsimilar to cartilage is introduced in between the articular surfaces of the tibial and femoral components to allow smooth movement and provide support.
  • The back of the patellamay also be prepared to receive a plastic surface so that it can interact smoothly with the rest of the knee joint
  • Your doctor will then close the incisions and a bandage will be applied

Post-operative Instructions for Muscle-sparing Knee Replacement

After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room.You will be advised to perform physical therapy to strengthen the knee and restore leg and knee movement. You will be instructed to elevate the leg above heart level and to apply ice to reduce pain.

Benefits of Muscle-sparing Knee Replacement

Benefits of muscle-sparing knee replacement include:

  • Less tissue damage
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Reduced blood loss

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • North America
  • Orthopaedic Trauma Association
  • FOS-Florida Orthopedic Society