You average one-thousand to three-thousand steps every day, but for people suffering from knee injuries, just taking one of those steps can be excruciating.
Now a new procedure is helping people live pain-free, almost instantly.
You wouldn't want to mess with Roy Reid.
Roy Reid a person who suffered a knee injury says, "I absolutely love Taekwondo, and I've studied martial arts for 20 years now."
A third-degree black belt, Roy also teaches the art. But a knee injury 22 years ago has proven to be his toughest opponent.
Roy Reid, "In all reality, for the last 20 years, I've been somewhat limping around."
Doctor Steve Nguyen is a joint replacement specialist and pioneer of the freedom knee procedure.
"What I noticed is even when the patient had crushed their knee if I made an incision to the side, it didn't hurt nearly as much as a total knee replacement."
Doctor Nguyen says unlike traditional surgery, this technique reduces pain by sparing muscles and ligaments that historically have been cut during standard total joint replacement surgery.
Steve Nguyen, MD, "We actually implant the components without dislocating the knee. The muscle is not cut at all. It's actually lifted over and reflected on one side, so we can do our cuts."
A small incision to the side of the knee lets the scar rotate as you move instead of stretching. Patients leave the hospital in one to two days compared to five days for traditional surgery. Within one to two weeks, they're back to normal, something Roy couldn't believe.
Roy Reid says, "I went in. I had the procedure done, and I've been in less pain from the moment i woke up from the procedure than the days preceding getting the procedure done."
Now that he's finally defeated his long-time nemesis, Roy's looking forward to his next challenge.
Roy Reid, "What more can I do now that I couldn't do then, and so now, I'm taking advantage of that."
Doctor Nguyen is currently the only one in the world using this approach.
He says the lateral approach allows for less blood loss during surgery because it requires fewer blood transfusions.
The procedure also lowers the chance of blood clots.
BACKGROUND: According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than half a million people undergo surgery each year to have arthritic and damaged knees replaced. An injured or arthritic knee can make it difficult to perform daily activities. Typically, arthritis patients first try conservative treatments like medicine, braces, and heat to control knee pain and slow joint damage. If those treatments don't work, many patients consider knee replacement as their last resort. Minimally-invasive techniques combined with new technology are making recovery time shorter than ever, allowing patients to return to an active lifestyle. When joint replacement procedures were first performed in the early 1970s, the average artificial joint was thought to last 10 years. Now, about 85 percent of the joint implants will last 20 years. Improvements in surgical techniques and artificial joint materials should make these artificial joints last even longer.
(Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, WebMD)
ABOUT THE PROCEDURE: During a traditional knee replacement surgery, the damaged part of the joint is removed from the surface of the bones, and the surfaces are shaped to hold a metal or plastic artificial joint. The artificial joint is attached to the thigh bone, shin and knee cap either with cement or a similar material. Traditional knee replacement incisions often measure 8" or longer. With the minimally-invasive Freedom Knee replacement, incisions are about 4" in length for most patients. The Freedom Knee procedure uses the same types of surgical implants as traditional knee replacement. The procedure permits the use of time-tested implant designs combined with quadriceps-sparing techniques.
RECOVERY: Steve V. Nguyen, M.D., is an orthopedic traumatologist and joint replacement specialist and the pioneer of the Freedom Knee Replacement. The Freedom Knee option was developed for people who are on the go with busy schedules. The process involves one incision through the side of the knee that saves the quadriceps. Because there is less damage to the tissue around the knee, patients who undergo this procedure can expect a shorter hospital stay, a shorter recovery, and years of pain-free living. Patients who have the Freedom Knee procedure are able to leave the hospital walking within 24-36 hours of surgery. In fact, most patients find that within a week, they are back to their normal routines. In some cases, it takes two weeks. The timing is typically based on fitness, ability, and activity level at the time of surgery.