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Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Subvastus Knee Replacement


April 9, 2014

Martha Jefferson Hospital is offering new options when it comes to knee replacements.

From walking, running and climbing stairs you use your knees for much of your daily routine. But just like anything you use often, it wears out over time and may need to be replaced.

Doctor Megan Swanson is new to the Martha Jefferson Orthopedics, but has a lot of experience performing knee replacements.

“So with a knee replacement we resurface those bone ends with metal and we put plastic in between and that's your new knee that you walk on,” says Dr. Swanson.

Now Martha Jefferson is offering a new type of replacement called a subvastus knee replacement.

“A traditional knee replacement you would cut with cut through the quadriceps muscle or quadriceps tendon,” explains Dr. Swanson. “We repair them and sew them at the end. Patients do well. The opportunity with the subvastus is to keep the quad muscle and tendon intact.”

So why is it so important to keep more muscle?

“So your quad muscles are actually the large muscles that you have at the end of your femur bone that allow you put your leg out straight. They help your knee to function and they allow you to walk and do your activities.”

While Dr. Swanson says many of her patients are good candidates for this type of replacement. Some are not.

“Usually patents who have had some kind of history of major surgery in the past to the knee and they have a lot of scaring around the knee and it may be difficult to mobilize the muscle.”

But if the subvastus surgery is recommended for you, Dr. Swanson says it could help you get back on your feet and allow you to enjoy your daily activities with a lot less pain.


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