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Do Gender-Specific Knee Implants Improve Surgery Results?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Gender-Specific Knee Implants

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NPR's "Morning Edition"on Thursday reported on knee replacements specifically designed forwomen (Aubrey, "Morning Edition," NPR, 8/30). Some companies aremarketing knee implants designed for women because they comprise about60% of implants and because women live longer and are more likely to beoverweight or obese than men (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report,2/16). Some experts say that physical therapy and a patient'spresurgery condition have a larger impact on surgery outcomes than thebrand of the implant, according to NPR. About 90% of knee replacementsurgeries are successful, regardless of the type of implant used, NPRreports.

Anthony Unger -- who directs the Minimally Invasive Joint Replacement Surgery Programat George Washington University and has performed about 200 surgeriesusing the women's implants -- said gender-specific implants better fitthe contour of women's anatomy. Unger said it is unlikely thatcompanies will compare their implants with each other in head-to-headstudies, so it could remain unclear whether the gender-specificimplants improve outcomes. Diane Covington, a physical therapist andphysician's assistant at Duke University'sorthopedic surgery practice, said choosing a qualified surgeon is themost important decision for patients, adding that patients shouldselect an implant that best fits their own anatomy ("Morning Edition,"NPR, 8/30).

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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.