As the country slips into a deepening recession, the demand for joint replacement does not decrease. While people are putting off certain types of elective surgery those with disabling pain from arthritis of the hip and knee continue to seek consultation for treatment options. We continue to remain enthusiastic about the use of anterior approach total hip replacement and will initiate a study in the second quarter of 2009 comparing the anterior approach to the traditional posterior approach, using the same implant system, same surgeon, with the only variable being the surgical approach. We hope to demonstrate the true benefits and associated risks of the two procedures. We continue to evaluate the possible benefits of alternative bearings including metal-on-metal, ceramic-on-polyethelene, and ceramic-on-ceramic.
With regard to knee replacement, we are continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of computer assisted knee replacement, reviewing our data from a previous study. As we head into an era of increased cost consciousness, with regard to joint replacement, we are evaluating systems that will allow for a customized instrument set, that will be disposable, that allows us to more accurately place knee replacement components. The instrument systems for replacing total knee components can be extremely expensive, labor intensive to clean, and options for disposable systems that are environmentally friendly continue to be pursued.
The Joint Center at Valley Medical Center continues to garner awards with its comprehensive approach to joint replacement, unparalleled patient care, and objective patient outcomes. We look forward to a busy year in 2009. In 2008 our number of joint replacement procedures increased by more than 10%, reflecting the regional recognition of our program.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.