Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is common procedure (approximately 581,000 each year in the US). The traditional knee replacement is expected to last 10 years and has about 80% success rate. But US surgeons have just begun to use the Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) technique for total knee replacement with the vast majority of surgeons still preferring the traditional total knee replacement. This is not an uncommon phenomenon with surgeons, because new techniques represent the possibility of unexpected failure. Also, research of new surgical techniques can be disappointing until skilled surgeons have tested and mastered the new techniques. (Research does not judge the technical skill of the surgeon.) These surgeons remain atop of their fields by acquiring the new knowledge and skills of these new procedures, to provide the best possible solution to their patients. Our surgeon is one the best of these surgical innovators.

The Total Knee Replacement (TKR) MIS Technique: In 2006 as reported by J. A. K. Ohnsorge of the Orthopädische Universitätsklinik, UKA, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany, and R. S. Laskin of the Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, N.Y., U.S.A., researchers developed an operative algorithm to assure optimal realization of a gentle joint (MIS) replacement using a mini-mid-vastus incision, sparing much trauma to the quadriceps and surrounding tissue, and it was evaluated on 250 cases. Short-term results were compared to those of the conventional technique with particular regard to pain, use of analgesic medication, flexion of the knee and achievements at physiotherapy.

Results: In comparison to the conventional procedure, The Total Knee Replacement (TKR) MIS Technique produced significantly better results regarding pain and function during early rehabilitation and did not affect the positioning of the implants. The morphine-equivalent dose was less than a half on day 2 after operation. Flexion on days 1 and 3 was 70° and 75° respectively. 80° were obtained after 4 days and after 6 weeks flexion was at an average of 115°. In contrast, results of the conventional control group were notably worse, with 50° and 65° on days 1 and 3, 80° being obtained on day 6 only and a mean flexion of 100° after 6 weeks.

Conclusion: The The Total Knee Replacement (TKR) MIS Technique accelerates and facilitates the rehabilitation of the patient and thereby defines a new quality standard.

Testimonial by Patient Melba Benson Ph.D.

In February 2, 2011, I sat in an orthopedic surgeon’s office in Arlington, Texas, and was stunned to learn that I needed to have knee replacements on both knees. Although I had experienced pain and stiffness in my knees for several years, including difficulty going down stairs in particular, I wasn't expecting to hear this diagnosis.

A relative had recently had a knee replacement, and the technique her surgeon used sounded absolutely barbaric to me. I knew I did not want to go through something like she had. I had been going to physical therapy to try to strengthen my knees, and I saw quite a number of people whose knee replacements had not been done properly. Some of them had been left crippled for life. One person's surgeon did not realize that males and females have different knees and used a replacement that did not fit her. Before we went to Germany and after we returned to the United States, ABC News reported that some knee replacement devices have been used by surgeons in the United States that had never even been tested on humans.

Thankfully, I learned about Prof. Dr. Christoph Lill in Munich, Germany, and the technique he uses for knee replacements, which is so much less invasive than the knee replacements I had heard about in the United States. Also, I learned that Prof. Dr. Lill was experienced in the use of adult stem cells and could inject my own stem cells into the sacral joints in my back, where arthritis was causing me extreme pain.

Prof. Dr. Lill reviewed my X-rays, and we set the date for my knee replacement surgery and injection of stem cells. On August 9, my husband and I met Prof. Dr. Lill for the first time in his office. Everyone in his office made us feel at ease immediately. We already knew of Prof. Dr. Lill’s reputation for technical competence, and we were thrilled to find that he was a genuinely caring human being as well. He showed us the device he would be using in my knee and patiently answered an extensive list of questions I had. We felt totally confident in him and his abilities. At that time and every time I saw him in the hospital, I was glad to see him because of his kindness and individual attention to my needs as a patient. Once again, I always had many questions, and he answered them very patiently.

I was a patient in the Medical Center for a total of two weeks. Although some patients in the United States go to a rehab center after a knee replacement, I had the advantage of being in the hospital where the physical therapist came to work with me every day and Prof. Dr. Lill came by to see me every day.

My hospital room was a large, beautiful room with a patio, and my husband had a bed next to mine. Being able to have my husband in the room with me was very comforting, and I feel that my recovery was easier because he was able to be with me day and night. The hospital staff took excellent care of me, and I never had problems communicating with them.

Although my husband and I don’t speak German, they were sufficiently fluent in English to understand my needs. We got to know everyone who came in to the room–nurses, physical therapists, personnel who cleaned the room, personnel who brought our meals to us, etc. When I needed assistance from a nurse, someone came immediately, but we were not unnecessary bothered 24 hours a day as I have experienced in hospitals in the United States when I have had surgery here. The entire time I was in the hospital, I never had any concerns about cleanliness. The day we checked out of the hospital to come home, we felt like we were leaving friends. Tim Vicknair, who is a prospective patient's initial contact with Prof. Dr. Lill, assisted us in locating the hotel where we stayed before I checked into the hospital, getting information to Prof. Dr. Lill,and providing any assistance we needed to make the trip to Germany.

My recovery from the knee replacement has been remarkable. When I continued physical therapy after we got home, I overhead another patient there say to the therapist that I could do things three weeks after my surgery that she was not able to do until three months after her surgery. Even in comparing scar length, my scar is only about half as long as most of those in the United States. I know that I have been able to progress more rapidly because of the less invasive approach used by Prof. Dr. Lill.

Prof. Dr. Lill injected my stem cells during the surgery on my knee, and I have not had the pain in my sacral joints that I had been experiencing for a long time. Prof. Dr. Lill’s dedication to his work is evidenced by the amount of research he does, the excellent job he does in surgery, and the wonderful rapport he has with patients.

Perhaps the best indicator of my confidence in Prof. Dr. Lill and my satisfaction with the experience is that I will be returning to Germany in 2012 to have a knee replacement done on the other knee.

We thank God every day for leading us to Prof. Dr. Lill and for our excellent experience with a surgery that needs to be done correctly every time.

Thank you, Prof. Dr. Lill, and everyone on your team and at the Isar Medical Center, for taking such good care of us. We will see you again soon.