Annually, more than 600,000 knee joint replacement surgeries are performed in the United States. With 150 possible device choices for each surgery, every manufacturer is looking for ways to differentiate their product. Some have introduced new materials. Others try refinements in shape. Better fit of an implanted knee joint usually translates into better function and less pain and discomfort for the patient. So, it’s no surprise that some manufacturers would try to differentiate their product by creating and marketing a knee joint designed specifically for women.
“Women do have anatomical differences from men that affect the knee joint,” says Dr. Pat Denton, of Pee Dee Orthopaedic Associates. “Size is obviously one difference, but there are other gender variations, such as shape and how much pressure is exerted. Since knee joint replacements already come in a range of sizes, the real question is: Will a device designed specifically for women perform better than the unisex models?”