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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.

Gender2.jpg

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. February 13, 2007 at 9:58 am

    I’ve understood that most joint replacements in the past were actually done on men, despite women’s more frequent experience of osteoperosis, which seems odd to me. I was told there were several theories on this front, including the fact that it is an expensive procedure and men tend to earn more to pay for it (hmmm), as well as the theory that women tended less often to schedule surgery for themselves because they saw the care of others to be more important than their own. Not sure where to go with this, except to point out that gender can impact implants in more ways than anthropometry, and as Frumious B suggested, anthropometry itself is a “science” (not really) of averages. Sometime I should blog about this horrendous paper I read trying to extend anthropometric measures past “whites” to “Asians” (by, in fact, doing body measurements of “Germans” and “Chinese” people selected from from some city in Germany – no methodological problems here!).
    While I think I am a fan of women-oriented designs – such as in bikes or climbing packs, and so on – I always have a sneaking suspicion that they are more just advertising and might be of poorer quality. I hope this implant “stands up,” as it were.

  3. LJG
    August 24, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    P.S. A more scientific website about normal knee anatomy and how the implants are different is here: http://www.journeyknee.com/surgeon/

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