Customized Knee Implants May Offer Higher Satisfaction for Patients

By Thomas F. Bear, MD
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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By 2030, the number of people turning to joint replacement surgery to end knee pain and regain mobility will increase from 700,000 to 3.5 million annually, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.1 For many patients, recovery from knee replacement surgery can be painful and slow, and the results are often not what they expect. Multiple clinical studies have found that, on average, one in five patients who has a knee replacement is dissatisfied with the result due to post-surgical pain or because the new knee feels “unnatural.”

Now, however, there’s a knee implant that is completely customized to a patient’s individual anatomy — the ConforMIS iTotal® CR and iTotal® PS. Clinical research shows that customized implants can provide a better fit which can result in less post-surgical pain, a more natural feel, increased stability and faster recovery. Since ConforMIS offers both cruciate-retaining (CR) and posterior-stabilized (PS) systems, it can be used in 85% of knee replacements.

To make the ConforMIS implant, a detailed CT scan of the patient’s knee is obtained for precise measurement of the patient’s femoral and tibial components, J-curves and cam-spine shape. A 3D model of the patient’s knee is then created. From this, a customized implant is made, helping to reduce or eliminate the risk of overhang, under-coverage, mal-rotation issues and sizing compromises that can lead to increased revision rates.2, 3

During the 2016 SICOT International Orthopaedics Specialized Knee Surgery Conference, results were reported from an ongoing multi-center prospective study of more than 300 patients treated with iTotal CR in the United States. They indicated iTotal CR patients had a statistically significantly higher patient-reported KOOS (Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score) and were able to return to activities of daily living faster when compared to patients with off-the-shelf implants.

In other clinical research, patients treated with the ConforMIS knee experienced better function and greater satisfaction compared to patients treated with traditional “off-the-shelf” implants. In fact, on average, 92% of patients undergoing total knee replacement with the iTotal CR were satisfied after one year. In comparison, a study of over 1,700 patients indicated 81% of patients with an off-the-shelf total knee replacement were satisfied with the results.4


Dr. Thomas Bear is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in total joint replacement surgery (hip and knee) at The Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. He is a member of the physician staff at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls.