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Minimally invasive knee replacement spares quadriceps muscle

During knee replacement surgery, the arthritic knee joint is replaced with an artificial one. Doctors at Baptist Health Louisville have been using a less-invasive, muscle-sparing surgical approach to allow quicker recovery, shortened hospital stay and a more rapid return to a full function with less pain.

While this procedure does not decrease the length of the incision (as in many minimally invasive procedures), this approach avoids cutting the quadriceps muscle or tendon, protecting it from damage throughout the procedure. Surgeons use specialized instrumentation, allowing them to spare the muscle during surgery. Since the muscle is not cut, less healing is required and the result is an almost immediate return of quadriceps muscle function after surgery. 

Traditional knee replacement surgery involves extensive cutting into the quadriceps muscle or tendon, which can delay return of muscular control of the leg. Patients may be unable to raise their straightened leg, find difficulty walking early on, and experience delayed full range of motion with this older technique.

The primary benefit of the quadriceps-sparing approach for patients is the shortened rehabilitation time leading to a quicker recovery. When combined with new pain management techniques – such as the use of femoral and sciatic nerve blocks – the surgical experience is much less painful.

For more information, or a physician referral, call the Baptist Health Information Center at (502) 897-8131.