Technology Advances in Kneecap Surgery

Patients with knee arthritis affecting only the patellofemoral joint (kneecap) do not have to live with debilitating pain.  At Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers, John J. Larkin, M.D., is using improved technology and instrumentation to create custom implants that allow patients a quick return to active lifestyles through a procedure called patellofemoral arthroplasty, a type of partial knee replacement.

In just five years, technological advances have dramatically improved patellofemoral arthroplasty.  "You have to balance the ligament and line up the knee to track centrally," Dr. John J. Larkin says.  "Otherwise, you get instability or uneven wear of the prosthesis."  To make such precision possible, MRI and CT imaging are now used to create a software model of a patient's anatomy.  The surgeon then inserts an implant made to fit.

In addition:

  • Patellofemoral arthroplasty is an outpatient procedure that takes 45-60 minutes.
  • A small incision is made on the inside of the knee.
  • Patients are weight-bearing (with a knee immobilizer) immediately.
  • Recovery time is six to 12 weeks with physical therapy twice a week.

John J. Larkin, M.D., is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in cartilage repair and transplantation for arthritis treatment.  He performs many total and partial knee replacements using customized implants.