What is minimally invasive knee surgery?

Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Minimally invasive knee surgery accomplishes the same goal as traditional knee replacement, using the same types of artificial knee implants as those used in traditional procedures, but through much smaller incisions. Despite the name, it is still major surgery. The size of the incision depends on the person's size (bigger knees mean bigger incisions). On average, the incision for minimally invasive surgery is four to six inches, compared with an eight- or 10-inch incision with traditional knee replacement. Some minimally invasive techniques require small incisions to be made in the quadriceps muscle, while "quadriceps-sparing" techniques protect the quadriceps tendon and muscle.

The results from several studies comparing minimally invasive surgery to traditional knee replacement have shown some benefits, including less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, and better range of motion. However, other studies show a higher complication rate with minimally invasive surgery, including less precise placement of knee implants.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.