Frequently Asked Questions About Knee Replacement Surgery

Conformis FAQs

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Are Conformis implants cleared by the FDA?

Yes, all of our products, the iTotal®, iTotal® Identity, Identity ImprintTM, iUni®, and iDuo® have been cleared by the FDA.

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What material is your implant made out of?

Our implants are made out of cobalt chromium molybdenum, a standard metal used in orthopedic implants. The tibial and patellar inserts are made of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) or highly crosslinked vitamin-e infused UHMWPE (iTotal only).

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How much does a total knee replacement cost?

Knee arthroplasty procedures using our implants are fully or partially covered by Medicare and most major insurance companies, under the same insurance reimbursement codes as our competitors’ “off-the-shelf” knee implants. Please consult with a surgeon using Conformis technology to learn more about your specific costs and coverage.

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Do you have a knee for women?

Our pre-navigated implants (Identity ImprintTM) have been designed based on advanced CT scan data from about 85,000 real-world Conformis patients. Approximately half of them are women, so female anatomy is taken into account. For the personalized implant option (iTotal® Identity), as we would design your knee just for you, there are no male versus female considerations. It is simply your knee.

Knee Anatomy FAQs

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What are the components of the knee?

The knee joint is comprised of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the patella (knee cap), and the tibia (shin bone). It can be divided into the medial compartment, the side of your knee that is closest to the center of your body; the lateral compartment, the side of your knee to the outside of your body; and the patellofemoral compartment, which is the area behind the knee cap.

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What is cartilage?

The end of each of the bones of the knee is covered with a layer of smooth, glossy, elastic tissue known as articular cartilage. Cartilage protects the bones while allowing the joint to glide smoothly. It also acts as a shock absorber. Cartilage has no nerve or blood supply. If damaged or injured, it may be difficult for it to heal or repair itself.

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What are ligaments?

Ligaments of the knee link the bones, while muscles and tendons aid in strength, stability, and movement. Ligaments include the anterior cruciate ligment, commonly called the ACL, the posterior cruciate ligament (the PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The health and stability of your ligaments can be important determining factors in whether one surgical option is better for you than another.

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What are menisci?

On the top of the tibia are two crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage calledThese inner and outer pads act as weight distributors when we walk, stand and move about. Their specialized shape also helps to keep the knee stable and conforms to the profile of the femur.

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What are condyles?

Condyles are rounded prominences at the end of a bone, most often important for articulation with another bone. Each person’s condyles have unique shapes and sizes.

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What is a partial knee replacement?

A partial knee replacement preserves the part of the knee not damaged by arthritis and the surgeon treats only the affected compartments of the knee.

FAQs About Osteoarthritis of the Knee

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What is osteoarthritis?

In a healthy knee, the ends of the thigh bone, the shin bone, and the knee cap are covered by a layer of articular cartilage. This cartilage acts as a cushion and provides a smooth, gliding surface for the movement of the knee.

Through the years, tremendous demands are placed on our knees. In some, the cartilage can begin to fracture or wear away. If the wear becomes significant, the rubbing of exposed bone can result in debilitating pain. This is called osteoarthritis (OA) and it affects millions worldwide.

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What causes osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered a progressive disease but the exact causes of are not fully understood. OA is very common in adults over the age of 50, but the condition can affect younger adults as well. People who have a history of past knee injuries, or have placed a lot of stress on their knees from heavy physical activity or weight are also at increased risk.

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What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee?

Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:

• Pain during movement

• Tenderness

• Stiffness, usually after periods of inactivity

• Lack of flexibility and an inability to move through the full range of motion

• Grating sensation

• Bone spurs – small, hard lumps felt around the joint

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What are the treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee?

There is no known cure for knee osteoarthritis, but there are a number of other treatment options available that you should discuss with your doctor, including:

• Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, exercise or physical therapy

• Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication (NSAIDs)

• Corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory knee injections)

• Viscosupplementation (hyaluronic acid knee injections, or lubricating fluid for your joint)

• Joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty

FAQs: How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery

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What Should I Ask the Surgeon Before Knee Replacement Surgery?

Talk to your doctor about your options, potential risks, after surgery, and how to plan. Specific information can be found here.

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Why do I have to get a CT scan?

The CT scan is a diagnostic tool for your surgeon to assess the course of treatment for your knee. CT scan data is used to create a 3D model of your knee to either design your personalized knee implant system (in approximately 6 weeks) or to select the best fit size of your pre-navigated implant (in approximately 3 weeks). The advanced scan data also drives the creation of your personalized surgical plan and 3D-printed surgical instruments.

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How soon do I need to get my CT scan?

It is recommended to book your CT scan appointment as soon as you can. If you elect to receive a personalized knee implant, then your personalized knee implant cannot be designed until your CT scan images are received. If you elect to receive a pre-navigated knee implant, then the selection of your size, your personalized surgical plan, and your personalized, 3D-printed surgical instruments all rely on the CT scan.

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Can I go to any Imaging Center?

Your surgeon will recommend an imaging center that has been qualified to perform CT scans that capture the required images to design your individualized implant.

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How long will the CT scan take?

The CT scan appointment typically takes 45-60 minutes. It is always a good idea to give yourself more time, and to arrive early to ensure your scan can start on time.

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How long does it take from the date of my CT scan to the completion of everything needed for my procedure?

If you choose the personalized implant option, from the time Conformis receives the order and your CT scan it takes 6 weeks to develop and deliver your implant to the medical facility in advance of your surgery date.

If you choose the pre-navigated implant option, then the time to select your optimal implant size, 3D-print your surgical instruments, produce a personalized surgical plan, and deliver everything to the medical facility in a sterile Surgery-In-A-Box kit is approximately 3 weeks.

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How can I prepare for knee replacement surgery?

It can be helpful to designate someone as your primary “caregiver.” This person will be there with you on your day of surgery, help carry your belongings and stay in touch with other family or friends during and immediately following your surgery. The primary caregiver may also be helpful following surgery (i.e., driving home, assisting in follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy and completing light chores around the house).

It may also be helpful to complete as many chores and/or errands as possible prior to surgery. Preparing your home by removing tripping hazards such as rugs and moving your living quarters to the ground floor will ensure an easier rehabilitation.

Prior to your day of surgery, be sure to pack a small suitcase with loose fitting comfortable clothing and necessary toiletries. In some cases you may be in the hospital from 1-3 days. Please check with your surgeon on how long you are expected to stay so you can pack accordingly.

FAQs: What Happens During Knee Replacement Surgery

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How long does the knee replacement procedure take?

Knee surgery has become a very common procedure. A total knee replacement can take 60–90 minutes to complete. Be sure to consult with your knee surgeon about his/her expectations for the surgery.

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What happens during knee replacement surgery?

After you have been admitted and prior to the actual surgery, you will receive an IV (intravenous) line that is used to administer antibiotics and anesthesia. The actual surgery involves a thin incision on the knee that helps the surgeon gain access to the affected compartment(s). Your surgeon will place your personalized surgical instrumentation on your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) in order to facilitate the procedure. Your knee implants are then cemented into place and the incision is closed.

FAQs: What Happens After Knee Replacement Surgery

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What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery?

Following surgery, you will focus on recovery and rehabilitation. Performing range of motion exercises during physical therapy is especially important to prevent scar tissue from limiting the flexibility of the new joint. For more information click here.

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How long will I have knee pain following knee replacement surgery?

As every case is different, please be sure to follow your surgeon’s recommendations for pain medication and physical therapy.

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How soon will I be able to walk after knee replacement surgery?

You should be able to walk, as tolerated, a few hours after surgery. You may be provided with a knee brace and/or aids such as crutches or a walker to assist you.

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Will I have to wear a leg brace after my knee replacement?

Your surgeon will determine whether or not you will need to wear a brace. If you do, you will likely wear your brace for two weeks or less depending upon your surgeon’s recommended weight-bearing protocol.

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Will I be able to drive after my knee replacement procedure?

Following surgery you may not have the full leg control required to work the gas and brake pedals. As a safety precaution, your surgeon may recommend that you not drive for a few days.

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When can I go back to work after knee replacement?

Your return to work will be dependent on your job requirements and endurance. Typically, patients return to office work in two to three weeks; jobs that require longer periods of standing may require a longer knee replacement recovery time.

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Will I have to take any medication after knee replacement surgery?

Your surgeon may prescribe medication to control pain after surgery and/or coated aspirin to prevent blood clots. It is important that you consult with your physician before taking any non-prescribed medications.

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What care will the incision require?

Following surgery, it is important to keep your incision covered with a clean dressing. Your surgeon will recommend that you use caution while bathing to keep your incision dry. Waterproof bandages are recommended. Be sure to contact your surgeon if you notice any changes in the incision such as swelling or drainage during the recovery period.

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Is it normal to have a fever following knee replacement surgery?

Immediately after your procedure, you may have a low grade fever (up to 101 degrees). It is important to contact your doctor if your temperature elevates above 101 degrees or lasts longer than one week.

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Will I have to go to physical therapy after my knee replacement procedure?

Your surgeon can best determine how much physical therapy is appropriate for you. In many cases, physical therapy is prescribed to avoid the build-up of scar tissue, help restore normal movement in your joint, build up strength in the joint and surrounding muscles, ease pain and swelling, and help with circulation. In all cases, an immediate postoperative recovery will focus on protecting the knee, minimizing discomfort, and ensuring an early return to motion. After that, your surgeon will prescribe a set of simple exercises to aid in knee replacement surgery recovery and strengthen your knee.

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