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Alvarado is the only West Coast hospital participating in a two-year, FDA study assessing the efficacy of a new prosthetic implant for total knee replacement. The prosthesis, one of a new generation of “rotating bearing” knee implants, simulates natural motion of the knee more accurately than older “fixed bearing” models.

“The knee is more than just a hinge. It has complex motions that involve flexion, translation and rotation, as well,” explained orthopedic surgeon James Bates, MD, who is leading the study at Alvarado. “This new type of implant has a moveable component that allows more natural movement than the standard, two-part fixed models.” He added the surgical technique to perform total knee replacement using the new prosthesis remains the same.

In addition to providing greater flexibility, the new prosthesis may last longer. The new design results in less wear and debris, the reason why knee implants may fail over the long-term. Dr. Bates said standard knee implants typically last from 15 to 20 years. Because of the reduced wear, he said the new implants could last indefinitely — for the duration of a patient’s life.

This latest development in total knee replacement surgery is good news for workers who have experienced knee injuries as a result of high-impact occupations, such as firefighting and construction. Additionally, Dr. Bates said “baby boomers” in their 50s and 60s who have developed knee injuries and early onset arthritis as a result of high-impact sports may benefit.

Total knee replacement is an inpatient procedure requiring a two- to four-day hospital stay. The joint is immediately weight-bearing, and patients typically experience full recovery within four to six weeks.

Go to the orthopedics program site for more information or call 1 (800) ALVARADO (258-2723).