“The Triathlon Knee, the way that it is configured allows for a more anatomical range of motion and so a traditional knee replacement would normally allow 135 degrees of motion, the triathlon knee allows for over a 150 degrees of motion and it allows the knee to rotate both in and out when the knee is straight and when the knee is bending and so that facilitates a full range of motion,” explains Dr. Harwin.
One of the main components of a knee implant is the bearing surface. “With the Triathlon Knee we are using a new high performance plastic bearing insert, one of the problems in the past was that the plastic that was part of the bearing insert would wear out and this would cause particles to form in the knee and loosen the knee and make the knee become unstable, with the new polyethylene that is called x3 polyethylene this has very, very favorable wear characteristics, we do have the hope that a knee that we put in today will last the patient a life time,” says Dr. Harwin.
Marlene had the Triathlon Knee procedure in January. She says recovery was a dream…by her three week post-op check-up she was walking cane-free. “I’m enjoying life again. I’m in my garden, I’m going shopping, I’m running up and down stairs, I’m walking,” says Dr. Harwin. The procedure itself is done with a spinal or epidural type anesthesia. It takes a little under an hour to insert the implant.
The patient is up and walking with a physical therapist either that afternoon or the next morning. Patients are usually discharged from the hospital after two or three days. In around four to six weeks, most patients will be back to their daily activities, walking, driving. But, full recovery can take anywhere from three months to a year.