Custom-made artificial knee joint using the “Visionaire” method – precisely fitting and durable

Although knee osteoarthritis mainly affects older people, it is not just a disease of old age; it can also be caused by misalignment or damage after accidents.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Gäbler

Medical fields:
Sports traumatology
Trauma surgery

Prof. Gäbler, in which cases is an operation indicated?

If there is massive osteoarthritis of the knee joint and medications and minimally invasive procedures (arthroscopies) are no longer effective, implanting a knee prosthesis (artificial knee joint) makes sense. This should eliminate pain, restore joint mobility and significantly increase the patient's quality of life.

What is the difference between the “Visionaire” method and the conventional methods?

In the past, large parts of bone had to be removed to implant an artificial joint; today, we attempt to remove only the damaged cartilage and replace it with an artificial surface. With the “Visionaire” method, we can offer the patients tailor-made solution and achieve excellent results. The data from MR images and special X-ray images of the knee are sent to an organization in the USA, where the optimal prosthesis is selected and, based on the data, an individual cutting block is produced for the patient. This means that each patient receives an individually implanted prosthesis. This method also offers the advantage that misalignments of the leg axes (bow legs or knock knees) can be precisely measured using computer calculations and corrected with 0% tolerance.

What material is used in this surgical method?

We use exclusively knee prostheses based on OXINIUM technology, i.e. prostheses made of a special metal alloy coated with a ceramic-like layer. According to biomechanical studies, this material is extremely durable. While traditional knee prostheses can fail after just 10-15 years, the Oxinium prosthesis can be expected to last 30 years or longer. In addition, the nickel content of the material is almost 0%, which is essential for patients with nickel allergies (which affects around 3 – 8 % of the population). Hypersensitive reactions, especially to nickel, may lead to postoperative complications in endoprosthetics. This is why oxinium prostheses are particularly suitable for patients with nickel allergies.

How long does the procedure take?

Due to the customization of the prosthesis planning, the procedure usually only takes 45 minutes. For comparison - a conventional knee replacement operation takes approximately 2 hours.

What are the risks of this new technology?

There are no known risks compared to conventional technology or computer navigation methods. On the contrary. Because the procedure takes much less time due to precise planning, the risk of anesthesia is reduced for patients. Blood loss and the risk of infection are also significantly reduced. The minimally invasive surgical approach causes less damage to the skin, muscles and soft tissues, i.e. the rehabilitation time is shorter.

How long does the hospital stay usually last?

Usually the stay at the hospital lasts 10 days.

What happens after the operation?

Mobilization begins on the day of the operation or the day after – of course with the help of the nursing staff and the experienced physiotherapists of the Confraternität Private Hospital. The first phase of rehabilitation takes place in the hospital - with ice packs, physiotherapy, pain therapy, lymphatic drainage and daily motor splints (to improve the mobility of the operated knee joint).

A consistent pain regime ensures that pain that occurs when the knee is put under strain is easily tolerated. Support crutches will be needed two to six weeks after the operation. Patients are given detailed advice on how physiotherapy and rehabilitation should be carried out so that an optimal treatment result is achieved.

Sports with a knee prosthesis – is that advisable?

Sport is also possible with a knee prosthesis and is generally recommended, but extremely injury-prone sports should be avoided. Sports such as (Nordic) walking, swimming, rowing, golfing, cross-country skiing, gymnastics, yoga, hiking and cycling are recommended. Moderate strength training is also recommended.


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