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The “Gender Knee”

I saw a commercial on t.v. the other night for something called the “Gender Knee” so I looked for it on the web and voila!

The First and Only Knee Replacement Shaped to Fit a Woman’s Anatomy

Now, I’m not sure I love all the rhetoric on their website:

From the cells in their bodies to their taste in clothes, it’s no surprise that women are different from men.

Uh, I’m pretty sure that a lot of the cells in our bodies function in much the same manner. I’m always a little wary when people start waxing eloquent about our innate womanly natures…usually they end up making pronouncements about our inferiority and toasting Lawrence Summers as a tragically misunderstood visionary.
But it does seem that this is one case where attention to a true biological physical difference between men and women was needed,

The number of women having knee replacement has grown significantly, and leading orthopaedic surgeons began reporting that they were frequently making adjustments during surgery to make traditional implants fit female patients. It became clear that it was time for a knee specifically designed to fit a woman’s anatomy.

and a very nice result was produced.

To accommodate the different shape of women’s knees, which have a narrower anatomy, the Zimmer Gender Solutions Knee (right) is contoured to match that anatomical difference.


Image is from the Zimmer website.
This illustration nicely shows one of the three advantages of the Zimmer Gender Solutions Knee. It’s a very good piece of medical illustration. Kudos to whoever is in charge of Medical Education for Zimmer; you got your money’s worth out of this pic. The illustrations showing “more natural movement” and “thinner profile” aren’t so good, however.
A cool piece of technology, and a nifty website to tell you about it. Engineering in the service of making life better for women – I like it!

  1. rehana
    February 11, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    I don’t care much for the name, either. Gender isn’t something that only women have. But you’re right–if you look past the marketing, it’s a great idea.

  2. Frumious B
    February 12, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    So prior to this Gender Knee breakthrough, what type of implants did small men get? Is there _really_ a different shape to women’s knees such that they can’t get a small version of the main knee replacement on the market? Is there an orthopedist in the house? Just how much do these feminine knee replacements cost compared to the leading replacement on the market (which I refuse to call a male knee replacement until such time as I am told that men’s knees really are shaped differently). Smells like bullshit to me.

  3. LJG
    August 24, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Actually, most surgeons who are not paid by Zimmer and not caught up in the Zimmer Marketing Machine realize that although the theory of anatomical differences between men and women are true, both men and women can benefit from a more natural knee and greater range of motion than offered with traditional implants. There are other knees that work well (and are more anatomically designed than even Zimmer’s Gender Knee) for both men and women because the difference isn’t really that great. It’s more important to have a good surgeon than a super-hyped designed implant – but don’t tell the surgeons that! Check out the Journey Knee for more info: http://www.journeyknee.com/ Also, other knees that are designed for women and men have been approved as so called gender knees: http://www.smith-nephew.com/news/item.jsp?id=362

  4. August 24, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks for pointing us all to these websites, and providing this info. I think in any kind of surgical situation, having a practiced surgeon is to be preferred, but especially in complicated surgeries like this.

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