The orthopedic surgeron from Northwell Health discussed the expectations of physically active older patients undergoing care for joints and knees.
What are the developing areas of orthopedic surgery today?
As an orthopedic surgeon I primarily treat patients that have knee conditions, especially osteoarthritis. It's amazing how over 50 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis, and the number of Baby Boomers and older patients that are healthy have arthritic hips and knees that interfere with their lives. These patients are looking for treatments or remedies that have active lifestyles. Over 2 million combined total hips and knees are performed on annual in the United States, and there's a trend now to supply a more personal approach to these patients. Even in the past, we've looked at gender and their differences, as we've had anatomical design implants that better fit the patient. Because fit and feel go hand-in-hand.
The research we're currently doing is looking at ethnicity as well as morphology so that we can get a better fit for implants, because benefitting implants will have a better impact on our patients. These baby boomers and these older, active patients are still active, and they want to resume that active lifestyle. They have certain expectations they want met, and it's our responsibility to try to meet these needs for these patients with our surgical techniques and the implants that we employ.
So there's a lot of interest now on implants and their design. Even some customized implants — patients will get a preoperative CT or MRI and get a customized implant. But as a general rule, that's fewer than the companies that provide more shapes and sizes to benefit the anatomy. We've also seen improvement in our surgical technique, in less invasive surgery, more refined instruments, and innovative technology has been introduced into our operating rooms — with computer navigation and even some robotic surgery. But it's the refinement of the surgical techniques by well-trained orthopedic surgeons in joint arthroplasty that have provided excellent results in the majority of patients, allowing them to resume a very active lifestyle.