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First Knee Replacement Shaped to Fit A Woman’s Anatomy

Surgery Performed at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital

Richmond, Va. (July 26, 2006) When it comes to knee replacement, women can now receive the “perfect fit.”

With Gender Solutions™ High-Flex Knee, the first knee replacement designed to fit a woman’s anatomy, physicians are not forced to replace female knees with implants designed for men.

Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital has been performing the procedure under the direction of Fred McGlynn, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon with Tuckahoe Orthopaedic Associates.

“This is revolutionary in terms of knee replacement in women,” said Dr. McGlynn, who has already performed about 20 of the procedures with the newly designed implant.

“We’ve known for decades that anytime a woman undergoes knee replacement, compromises will have to be made. That is no longer the case and exactly why this is so significant. It is definitely a major step forward in orthopaedic care.”

Three basic design characteristics make the Gender Solutions™ knee work for women.

  • Narrower shape, proportioned for women. When determining the proper sized implant for the knee, surgeons measure the femur from front to back and side to side. Women’s knees are typically more trapezoid-shaped whereas men’s knees are more rectangle-shaped. Prior to the High-Flex Knee, implants that fit women from back to front were too wide, posing a risk to surrounding ligaments and tendons.
  • Thinner shape. The bone in front of a woman’s knee is typically less prominent than in a man’s knee. When a traditional implant is used to replace damaged bone, the joint may end up feeling “bulky,” which could result in pain and less optimal function. The front of the High-Flex Knee is thinner in shape and matches the female anatomy.
  • More natural tracking. The angle between the pelvis and the knee affects how the kneecap tracks over the end of the femur as the knee moves through the range of motion. Women tend to have a different angle than men because their shape and contour. The new knee was designed to accommodate the different tracking angle.

Additional benefits include a less invasive replacement procedure, less disruption of tissue surrounding the knee and because of a proper fit, it’s more cosmetically appealing.

Dr. McGlynn, who does about 200 knee replacement procedures a year, says that 60 percent of replacement patients are women, ranging from age 50 and older.

“With the new implant, we expect the number of women opting to have knee replacement will increase,” said Dr. McGlynn. “Given that the surgery is now less invasive and as a result, less disruptive, women may be more inclined to consider the surgery.”

The Gender Solutions™ High-Flex knee, available for consumer use since last spring, was developed by Zimmer, a world-wide orthopaedic leader in the design, development, manufacturing and marketing of reconstructive implants, trauma, and related orthopaedic surgical products.

Dr. McGlynn will lead a seminar on the gender specific knee implants at 1 p.m. on Aug. 15 at St. Mary’s Hospital Auditorium. The seminar is free and open to the public. Register by calling Bon Secours Senior Services at (804) 627-5010.

Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital is one of four Richmond area hospitals in the not-for-profit Bon Secours Richmond Health System.

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