Frequently Asked Questions

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As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes deterioration of cartilage between bones. Factors that may cause the development and progression of the disease include aging, genetics, obesity, and joint injuries from sports, work, or accidents. There are an estimated 21 million people in the United States who suffer from osteoarthritis.

A healthy knee is designed to move and endure the forces of everyday activities. Cartilage that covers the ends of our bones acts like a cushion or shock absorber to prevent joints from grinding. For those who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee, the cartilage of the affected joint is roughened and becomes worn down, causing the bone ends to rub against each other.

Osteoarthritis usually affects the weight-bearing sections of the knee, which include the junction of the lower leg bone (tibia) with the upper leg bone (femur), and beneath the kneecap (patella). The disease may affect only one section of the knee, leaving the two other sections relatively healthy. While anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections, and physical therapy are short-term solutions to managing the pain, many people eventually require knee replacement surgery.

Individuals with osteoarthritis may experience aching, stiffness, and eventual loss of mobility within the knee joint. Inflammation may or may not be present. The pain may be severe at times, followed by periods of relative relief. It often worsens after extensive use of the knee and is more likely to occur at night than in the morning. Stiffness tends to follow periods of inactivity, such as sleep or sitting and can be eased by stretching and exercise. Pain also seems to increase in humid weather. As the disease progresses, the pain may occur even when the joint is at rest and can keep the sufferer awake at night.

Osteoarthritis is often visible on X-rays. Cartilage loss is indicated if the normal space between the bones is narrowed, if there is an abnormal increase in bone density, or if bony projections or erosions are evident. A blood test for rheumatoid is often taken to rule out rheumatoid arthritis.

Your surgeon will conduct an examination of your knee, including range of motion and detection of deformities (conditions better known as "knock-kneed" or "bowlegged"). You will be asked to describe the pain in your knee.

Your physician will also record your medical history, often asking you a series of questions about injuries, infections, ailments you have experienced, and any medications you are taking.

From this information and examination, your physician will choose the most appropriate treatment option.

Once your doctor diagnoses osteoarthritis, you should discuss with him the possible treatment options and which one best suits the severity of your condition.

Treatment options:

  • Joint and muscle exercises to improve strength and flexibility
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs for degenerative joint disorders
  • Synovectomy (surgical removal of inflamed synovial tissue)
  • Osteotomy (reshaping of the bones to shift stresses from diseased to more healthy tissue)
  • Partial knee replacement (a unicompartmental knee can be used when only a portion of the joint is diseased)
  • Total knee replacement (used when severe osteoarthritis of the joint is present)

Flexion is the action of bending a joint, such as your knee or elbow. The opposite motion is extension, which is the act of straightening a joint, such as the knee when you are standing.

Your need and desire for high flexion may be dictated by your favorite activities or cultural background. Many daily activities require the ability to bend the knee beyond 125 degrees. Climbing stairs, for example, requires a range of motion from 75 to 140 degrees while sitting in a chair and standing up again requires a 90-to-130-degree range of motion. Other activities, like gardening, playing golf, or kneeling for prayer involve motions that require up to 130 to 150 degrees of flexion to perform.

Zimmer makes specialized instruments and provides training in minimally invasive surgical techniques that allow orthopedic surgeons to access the hip joint and perform the surgery through a much smaller incision than is used for traditional hip replacement.

Hip replacement involves replacing the painful, damaged parts of the hip with artificial parts or implants.  A hip replacement has three parts: socket (outer shell and inner liner), ball, and stem. These parts imitate the action of your original joint.

The parts of a hip replacement that move against each other can slowly wear during typical use.  How well the materials in an artificial hip withstand this wear contributes to how long the artificial hip will last.  Other contributing factors include the patient’s physical condition, activity level and weight. 

Zimmer Biomet has developed advanced hip technologies to provide a once in a lifetime solution to restore mobility while letting you get back to doing the things you enjoy most.  

The Anterior Approach can offer faster healing, less pain and reduced scarring.  Also, greater hip stability can be achieved because more muscles and tissue are preserved.1

 

1. Bohler G, Hipmair G. The minimal invasive surgery anterior approach with supine patient positioning: a step-wise introduction of technique.  Hip Int. 2006; 16 (sup 4): S48-S53 Typical Results.  Your results may vary.

The average recovery time for the Anterior Approach is 3-6 weeks, which is significantly less than the recovery of a traditional approach which is 8-12 weeks.1

 

1. Bohler G, Hipmair G. The minimal invasive surgery anterior approach with supine patient positioning: a step-wise introduction of technique.  Hip Int. 2006; 16 (sup 4): S48-S53 Typical Results.  Your results may vary.

The average hospital stay will be 2-3 days, as compared to the traditional approach which is 5-7 days.1

 

1. Bohler G, Hipmair G. The minimal invasive surgery anterior approach with supine patient positioning: a step-wise introduction of technique.  Hip Int. 2006; 16 (sup 4): S48-S53 Typical Results.  Your results may vary.

The incision for the Anterior Approach will be roughly 3-4 inches while the traditional approach will be close to 8-10 inches.1

 

1. Bohler G, Hipmair G. The minimal invasive surgery anterior approach with supine patient positioning: a step-wise introduction of technique.  Hip Int. 2006; 16 (sup 4): S48-S53 Typical Results.  Your results may vary.

All content herein is protected by copyright, trademarks and other intellectual property rights, as applicable, owned by or licensed to Zimmer Biomet or its affiliates unless otherwise indicated, and must not be redistributed, duplicated or disclosed, in whole or in part, without the express written consent of Zimmer Biomet.  
To find a doctor near you, click the ‘find-a-doc’ link. For printed information on joint replacement, call 1-800-HIP-KNEE.
Talk to your surgeon about whether joint replacement or another treatment is right for you and the risks of the procedure, including the risk of implant wear, loosening or failure, and pain, swelling and infection. Zimmer Biomet does not practice medicine; only a surgeon can answer your questions regarding your individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.