Outpatient, Quadriceps-Sparing Knee Replacement

Outpatient, quadriceps-sparing (quad-sparing) knee replacement surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that offers several advantages over the standard knee replacement surgery procedure. It does not involve cutting the quadriceps tendon and the incision is smaller and less deep as compared to the standard method. In many cases, patients go home within four hours of surgery.

How is Quad-Sparing knee replacement performed?

In quad-sparing knee replacement, the surgeon makes a 3 to 4 inch incision on the front of the knee. From this approach and using special instruments, the surgeon can lift the quadriceps muscle up and out of the way (rather than cutting into it) to access and replace the knee joint.

The standard approach, on the other hand, requires cutting an 8 to 10 inch incision straight down the middle in front of the knee, right through the quadriceps.

The benefits of quad-sparing knee replacement

Because there’s less disruption to the muscle and the joint itself, the procedure results in several benefits:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Faster recovery and return to regular activities
  • Less scarring and soft tissue trauma underneath the skin
  • Less blood loss

Who’s a candidate for quadriceps-sparing total knee replacement?

Not everyone who needs a total knee replacement is a candidate for this procedure. Your surgeon will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if this approach is right for you. In general:

  • Good candidates are people who are younger, healthier, within the normal range of weight for their age and height, and motivated to participate in the rehabilitation process after surgery.
  • Less suitable candidates are people who are overweight or have undergone previous knee surgeries.

What is the recovery time from quad-sparing total knee replacement like?

The recovery for each patient is different and depends on several factors. Your age, how physically active you were before the surgery, and how closely you follow your prescribed rehabilitation regimen after surgery all affect how quickly you recover.

Patients who maintain healthy habits and a healthy weight after surgery typically experience less pain and improved mobility—enabling them to get back to the activities they enjoyed before pain became a problem.

The ideal quad-sparing patient goes home within several hours after the procedure, walks with a walker for just two to five days, begins driving within two to three weeks, and finishes physical therapy in about five weeks.