Total Knee Replacement: Techniques and Technology

March 8th, 2021

Rothman Orthopaedics provides the full spectrum of care so you can rest assured that you or a loved one will receive specialized attention from diagnosis to treatment. Each Rothman professional is a fellowship-trained expert in their specialization to ensure the best quality of care for every orthopaedic injury or condition. So as established leaders in both education and research, you’ll have the peace of mind that your Rothman knee surgeon is experienced and dedicated to this specific surgery.

Knee replacement surgery can seem daunting, but our surgeons are experts at performing procedures to alleviate your pain. This is especially true considering the techniques and technology that exist today to help improve outcomes. Understanding the technology available and learning about new procedures can help you become more familiar as you prepare for surgery and recovery. When you’re ready to evaluate which technique is right for you, Rothman Orthopaedics is the best practice to visit to truly learn.

Computer Navigation

Computer-assisted navigation software systems can potentially allow more accurate positioning when inserting a knee replacement as compared to conventional technique. Experts believe that computer navigation somewhat minimizes the risk of misalignment.


Robots are being used more and more in our world, and surgery is no exception. Robotic-assisted technology in surgery utilizes a combination of computer navigation and an instrument that performs bony cuts for extreme precision. Our physicians are constantly studying how much these cuts improve a patient’s long-term outcome and which of these advanced technologies can be most useful.

In addition, the robot doesn't replace the physician. It's important that you find a top-notch surgeon who you can trust to provide the best outcome. The ideal surgeon is one who tailors their approach to your specific case for the best quality outcome - which is something that all Rothman surgeons take great pride in providing. Our surgeons have been utilizing this technique for over a decade, and with our experience developing and teaching computer navigation, we are excited about helping you determine if this is the right procedure for you

Patient Specific Instrumentation

Patient specific instrumentation (PSI) is an alternative to robotics and navigation systems for implant positioning. A PSI system is created specifically for the patient’s anatomy on a case-by-case basis utilizing imaging studies such as a CT scan or MRI. The ultimate goal is that this instrumentation will be very accurate because it’s made specifically to the patient.

Surgeons use models to plan the position, size, and orientation of the implant. Commercial PSI engineers then work with the surgeons to design the instrumentation that will be used in surgery.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Minimally invasive knee replacement may mean a smaller skin incision or a smaller incision in the quadriceps tendon.

With this method, recovery time may theoretically be shorter but high quality studies have not shown significant differences. Each patient is unique; the best method varies from patient to patient and your doctor will work with you to determine the appropriate course of action.

Quad Sparing Knee

Traditional knee replacement involves splitting the fibers of the quadriceps tendon to gain access to the knee. This does not mean that the major portion of the tendon is transected.  Currently, this is the most common method, used in up to about 80% of knee replacements. Quad sparing knee replacement means that the tendon is not split as far or split at all.

Studies show that for these complex surgical procedures it is the quality and experience of the surgeon rather than a specific type of incision that really make the difference.  Choosing the best and most experienced surgical team is the most important thing that a patient can do to achieve the best results 

Rothman surgeons have been using both of these ways of performing knee replacement for decades.

Rapid Recovery Programs

Another program that orthopaedic surgeons across the US are beginning to adopt is what is known as Rapid Recovery Protocol (RRP). RRP for total knee replacement can also be referred to as outpatient knee surgery or same-day knee surgery due to the program’s ability to return the patient to their home quickly after surgery.

Patients are first screened for eligibility. Surgeons will work with the patient to determine an individual plan for the patient’s recovery program, including pain management and anesthesia, how to increase mobility before and after surgery, and reduce complications and the risk of readmission.

A study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons®  shows that a rapid recovery protocol leads to increased range of motion and decreased length of stay.

If you’re dealing with knee pain, it’s crucial to visit a doctor to avoid the risk of worsening the injury. Non-operative methods are generally attempted before physicians turn to surgery. When options such as medication or physical therapy are not effective, our doctors will discuss surgery with you and detail the operation that they plan to perform.


About Knee Replacement Surgery at Rothman Orthopaedics

Studies show that for these complex surgical procedures, it’s the quality and experience of the surgeon rather than a specific type of incision that really make the difference. Choosing the best and most experienced surgical team is the most important thing that a patient can do to achieve the best results. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute performs knee replacement surgery utilizing both traditional methods and advanced technology based on the patient’s specific case. Click here for more information or here to schedule a consultation with one of our fellowship-trained surgeons.


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