Thursday, July 11, 2019
Just as an off-the-rack shirt will never fit the same way on any two people, one standard replacement knee joint won’t fit two patients’ knees in exactly the same way, either. OrthoCincy surgeon Michael Swank, M.D., has helped to solve this problem by developing custom joint replacement surgery that can help patients recover faster and go back to regular activities sooner after a total knee replacement.
As President and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Orthopaedic Research Institute, Director of Research for Joint Restoration and Reconstruction for the Lindner Center at The Christ Hospital, and a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Swank is actively involved in research to ease the discomfort and speed up the recovery of joint replacement for patients who need surgical solutions to knee pain. His work has helped pioneer the first custom-made artificial joints to be offered worldwide.
“The better the fit, the more normal it will feel, and the more normal the patient will feel after surgery,” says Swank, who leads numerous clinical trials each year to evaluate innovations in joint replacement. “There is evidence that these joints perform more like normal knees than standard joint replacements.”
Although each custom knee replacement joint is made specifically to fit an individual patient, Swank says there is little difference in cost or insurance coverage. Patients undergo CT imaging prior to the surgery to take measurements for the new joint. Then it takes about six weeks to make the custom joint, a process the patient can follow via the Internet. Once it’s complete, surgery is scheduled, and the patient can begin the process of recovery.
Swank says he has seen excellent results after completing roughly 700 custom knee replacements during the past six years.
“My findings have been overwhelmingly positive,” he says. “The patient has greater range of motion and recovery time is improved. I think demand for this type of joint replacement is going to grow in the future.”
Michael L. Swank, M.D., is a boardcertified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in total knee and total hip replacement. He sees patients in the Montgomery and Ft. Wright offices.