From an expert: Attune Knee Replacement is latest innovation

Published 9:20 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

If you experience pain in your knee while doing simple activities, like walking or climbing stairs, even while you are sitting or lying down, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

According to a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States.

The most common cause of chronic knee pain and disability is arthritis. Most knee pain is caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is an age-related type of arthritis that usually occurs in people age 50 or older. The cartilage that cushions the knee begins to soften and wear away leaving bone rubbing against bone. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed causing cartilage loss, pain and stiffness.

A serious knee injury can result in post-traumatic arthritis. The fractured bones and torn ligaments can damage the cartilage over time, causing pain and limiting function.

When should you consider having knee replacement surgery?

When arthritis sets in, most people will initially turn to over-the-counter medications or ointments to relieve the pain and inflammation. They may turn to corticosteroid injections that can provide faster, longer relief, and their doctor may recommend exercise and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support the knee.

When the pain and stiffness become too much to bear and the temporary relief methods are no longer working, patients may need to talk to their doctor to see if knee replacement surgery is recommended. Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age.

“Medication and steroid injections may provide enough relief to keep you moving comfortably,” said Dr. William Johnson, an Orthopedic Surgeon at River Parishes Hospital. “If they don’t relieve your pain well enough or become less effective, you doctor may suggest surgery.”

Your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery if:

• You suffer from severe knee pain or stiffness that limits your everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs and getting in and out of chairs. You may find it difficult to walk a few blocks without experiencing significant pain and may need to use a cane or walker.

• You have moderate or severe pain while resting.

• Your knee swelling and inflammation doesn’t improve with rest or medications.

• You knee is deformed, such as bowing in or out.

• You fail to improve with other treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, lubricating injections, physical therapy or other surgeries.

Nolan Leger, a resident of Montz, recently underwent knee replacement surgery using the new Attune Knee Replacement that is now available at River Parishes Hospital.

The Attune Knee Replacement is the latest innovation in knee replacement systems. It is different from any other type of knee system in that it is fine-tuned to help improve how the knee replacement feels and moves. It maximizes the range of knee movement when bending the knee, while maintaining stability during activities, like walking and going up and down stairs. These advancements improve mobility, helping patients get back to doing their regular activities.

Leger was the first patient at River Parishes Hospital to use the Attune Knee Replacement System. Before surgery, his knee bowed outward and he suffered from weakness in his knee. It would buckle without any type of warning causing him to fall. He saw Dr. Johnson, who told him his x-ray showed bone rubbing against bone. Dr. Johnson recommended three weeks of physical therapy to strengthen the knee followed by knee replacement surgery.

“I chose to see Dr. Johnson because some of my family members and friends had seen him and were very satisfied,” said Mr. Leger. “I was treated exceptionally well at River Parishes Hospital — the nurses were very attentive, the room was kept clean, food service was good and the physical therapists were very helpful.”

Leger had knee replacement surgery in early April. He says he noticed a difference immediately after his surgery. Plus, Dr. Johnson was able to straighten his knee. The next day, the physical therapist had him up and walking.

He stayed in the hospital for two days after his surgery then had a physical therapist come to his home for three weeks before beginning his outpatient therapy.

Leger says his knee is feeling “very good.” He has good movement and is able to bend it easily. He is much more stable on his feet and is able to walk without a walker. He is using a cane for extra support only because his other knee is now experiencing weakness. He says he plans on talking to Dr. Johnson to see when he can schedule the surgery on that knee.

“I would recommend this knee replacement surgery to anyone,” said Leger. “My pain has been relieved, and I am able to walk normally with less concern of my knee giving out.”

Dr. William Johnson is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon on staff at River Parishes Hospital. His office is located in the River Parishes Hospital Medical Pavilion, at 502 Rue de Santé, Suite 106 in LaPlace. For more information about the Attune Knee Replacement System and to see if it is right for you, call his office at 985-653-5570.