A total knee replacement is done for severely damaged knee joints. The first knee replacement was performed in 1968, and much progress has been made since then. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed in the United States every year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ComforMIS takes this procedure one step further. The orthopedic surgeon builds a customized patient cutting block, and manufactures a knee replacement designed just for you.
What is the knee joint?
The knee is the largest body joint, made up of the ends of the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone), and patella (kneecap). These bones come together, covered by smooth articular cartilage, which protects the bones and allows them to move easily. Ligaments and menisci hold the joint together. Damage to this joint impairs mobility and produces great pain.
How is ConforMIS done?
Using special computed tomography (CT) technology, along with specialized computer software, a knee replacement is built based on the patient’s unique body anatomy. This leads to a more natural feeling knee replacement, which is high performing and long-lasting.
What is ConforMIS iTotal?
ConforMIS iTotal is a patient-specific implant for the knee, with the “i” standing for individualized. This is used for patients with severe knee joint immobility and disability. iTotal is great for people of any age, or those who have a condition that may not be addressed with traditional knee replacement surgery. This unique implant can treats more than one knee compartment, so the patient enjoys better results and improved quality of life.
What conditions are treated with ConforMIS?
ConforMIS is used mainly to treat osteoarthritis (OA). With osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, there is breakdown of joint cartilage, which wears away with age and injury. When cartilage is lost, it causes the bones of the knee to rub together, and this causes severe pain, inflammation, and immobility. Patients with OA have:
- Pain with standing, climbing stairs, or walking short distances
- Pain with any activity
- Stiffness when sitting for long time periods
- Crepitus of the knee (grating or crunching sensation)
- Knee swelling
What is the ComforMIS approach?
The ComforMIS approach combines proven total knee replacement principles with the advantage of a patient-specific knee system. This approach is based on the fact that all people are different, and the knee joint varies in size, by race, and according to gender. These personalized implants conform precisely to the patient’s unique anatomy.
The iTotal Process
If the Gilbert orthopedic surgeon determines you are an appropriate candidate for the ConforMIS total knee replacement procedure, a physical examination is performed, and special CT scans and iFit technology are used to design the joint replacement parts. The iTotal device is available around seven weeks after the CT scans are done. This implant is shipped along with special surgical instruments to your orthopedic surgery.
Before the procedure, the knee doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the procedure and have you sign a form of informed consent. Do not eat or drink after midnight the day of the procedure, and leave valuables at home. A nurse places an intravenous catheter in your arm to administer necessary medications after you change into a procedure gown.
Small incisions are made around the knee to implant the joint replacement components. After surgery, you are monitored by a nurse for 30 minutes, and moved to a hospital room. Many patients are encouraged to weight-bear within hours of the procedure, but this varies depending on the extent of the procedure. You will work with a physical therapist and gradually return to activities within six weeks. However, full recovery can take up to 3-6 months. Because the ComforMIS is uniquely designed for your knee joint, mobility is improved, and you are back to usual activities soon after the procedure.