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September 11, 2007 > When Knee Pain Becomes Unbearable

When Knee Pain Becomes Unbearable

Learn More About Knee Replacement Surgery at Upcoming Seminar

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), a painful knee is the most frequent bone- or joint-related complaint that brings people to their doctor. Although knee discomfort is often a simple condition people can treat themselves, if the pain becomes severe or persistent and is accompanied by weakness or loss in range of motion, the problem may be more serious.
When knee pain and loss of joint function due to arthritis become severe enough to hamper your mobility and quality of life, one solution is total knee replacement surgery. With today's active society, this procedure has become increasingly popular. About 300,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the U.S., and an overwhelming majority result in a dramatic reduction in knee pain and significant improvement in the person's ability to perform daily activities, the AAOS reports.
If you or someone you know suffers from chronic knee pain due to arthritis, total knee replacement may be the answer. A good way to learn more about this valuable procedure is to talk with an expert. On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the community will have this opportunity at a free seminar led by one of the region's foremost experts in total joint replacement, John T. Dearborn, M.D., medical director of the Center for Joint Replacement at Washington Hospital. Dr. Dearborn performs more joint replacements than any other surgeon on the West Coast, and he has helped to pioneer the development and testing of many state-of-the-art advancements in the field.
"Total knee replacement has been around for a long time and, over the years, there have been many positive changes," says Dr. Dearborn. "At the seminar, we'll talk about what's currently out there, how the procedure is done, what type of implants are available and what's being done to increase longevity of the replacement. We also hope to have plenty of time for questions and answers."
One of the biggest advancements in total knee replacement in recent years has been development of a minimally invasive approach that results in less post-surgical pain, earlier return of knee motion and a faster recovery for the patient.
"Since early 2004, we've done upwards of 2,000 of these procedures at the Center, more than anywhere else in California," adds Dr. Dearborn. "The recoveries have clearly been faster and easier than with traditional knee replacement. On Sept. 18, we'll describe how the minimally invasive approach works and who is a good candidate to have it."
Another important development has been the use of gender-specific knee replacement implants. Fewer than 20 percent of women can have an optimal outcome with the use of a traditional knee replacement implant. Surgeons at Washington have been using an implant that is more appropriately sized for women for the last 18 months.
"This has been a big improvement for a lot of patients," says Dr. Dearborn. "In fact, even a few men find this smaller implant is a better fit for them. It's just one more tool we have to help get rid of knee pain."
Recently, there have been reports on the importance of computer navigation during joint replacement surgery in order to ensure accurate alignment of the bones.
"We'll talk about this at the seminar," comments Dr. Dearborn. "I believe there may be a role for computer navigation with this procedure, but it is not needed in a vast majority of cases."
The Sept. 18 seminar on Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement will begin at 1 p.m. in the Conference Center adjacent to the Nakamura Clinic at 33077 Alvarado Niles Road in Union City. To register for the seminar, call Washington's Health Connection at (800) 963-7070.

In 2007, HealthGrades, an independent healthcare ratings organization, gave Washington Hospital "5 Star" ratings for total knee replacements, total hip replacements and hip fracture repair.
HealthGrades also ranked Washington Hospital "Best in the Region" for overall orthopedics and "Best in the Region" for orthopedic surgery. To learn more about the specialized care offered through the Center for Joint Replacement, call (888) 494-7003 or visit, click on "Services & Programs," and select "Center for Joint Replacement" from the drop-down menu.

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