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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Feb-March 2012
HEALTH What’s hip in knee surgery? Orthopaedic surgery is a rapidly changing field, with recent developments in hip and knee surgery techniques seeing patients back on their feet within days, writes Associate professor nigel Hope. Y our hip hurts. You can’t sit for any length of time or sleep comfortably at night, and it is too stiff to put on your shoes and socks. You know it needs to be replaced but you don’t want to face the pain of the operation, the limping or the six-month recovery time. It is simply easier to live with the pain until it gets unbearable. Anterior Minimally Invasive Surgery (AMIS), developed 10 years ago in France and now spreading through the world, can take the pain and trauma of traditional hip surgery away by minimising the pain, side effects and recovery time for patients. The technique enables the surgeon to enter the hip joint from the front of the thigh by travelling between muscles. In traditional hip replacements, the surgeon splits or divides muscles to get through the buttock or thigh to the hip, which causes the pain that hip replacements are well known for and the long recovery time of many months. In AMIS, the muscles are not cut or ruptured, so patients are able to walk within two days of the operation and resume their usual lifestyles within weeks. Furthermore, the resulting scar is usually much smaller (approximately 8cm) than the scar from traditional hip operations. This non-invasive technique is surgery of the future; so far 25,000 AMIS hip replacements have been performed in France and it is becoming popular in Australia, with hospitals such as the Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga performing a large number of them with outstanding results. Knees There have also been exciting advances in knee surgery. The knee joint has a curved cartilage between the bone ends called a meniscus, which acts like a shock absorber. Often it is torn and needs to be removed through two 5mm incisions on either side of the knee cap. A telescope called an arthroscope is passed through one incision and an instrument is passed through the other. The image from the arthroscope is shown on a TV screen, allowing the surgeon to work on the knee from the inside out. Recently, a new type of instrument has become available, the Arthrowand. While it is not from Hogwarts, it does almost have magical qualities. The Arthrowand does not touch the surface of the meniscus, but, when held near the surface, it produces a pulse of energy that heats and smooths off a torn meniscus or worn knee joint. It produces a smoother surface, making joint motion much easier. •• Find out more Nigel Hope is Associate Professor of Orthopaedics at Notre Dame University, Sydney. He also consults in Sydney CBD and at the San Clinic, Wahroonga. To find out more about AMIS and recent developments in knee surgery, contact Associate Professor Nigel Hope. Sydney CbD: (02) 8222 5998 San Clinic: (02) 9473 8648 Active RetireesTM | 39 Thinkstock
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