Having specialized in less-invasive knee replacements since 2000, Dr. Clark has extensive experience performing the intricate procedure. Through careful study of trends in joint care, Dr. Clark brings innovative, yet proven, orthopedic techniques to his patients, with the goal of reducing recovery time and improving functional joint motion following surgery.
EXPERIENCED | FORWARD-THINKING
In the landscape of joint care, there are two predominant approaches to knee replacement: the traditional approach, and the less-invasive approach. While the traditional approach has endured due to its long history and ease-of-execution, the more complex less-invasive approach offers many advantages over traditional techniques.
THE TRADITIONAL KNEE REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE
LARGER INCISION | LONGER REHABILITATION | INCREASED TISSUE AND SKIN DAMAGE
A knee replacement (also frequently referred to as “knee arthroplasty”) is an orthopedic surgery that replaces the knee joint with an implant for the purpose of reducing daily pain and improving function. Traditional knee replacement surgery requires surgeons to make a large (8-10 inch) incision in the knee. Compared to less invasive knee replacement, this procedure involves significantly more disruption of knee tissues, and requires more muscle and cartilage to be cut and detached. The typical traditional knee replacement patient must spend 3-4 days in the hospital following surgery.
DR. CLARK’S LESS-INVASIVE APPROACH
SMALLER INCISION | FASTER RECOVERY | REDUCED POST-OPERATIVE PAIN
Less-invasive knee replacement techniques offer many advantages over the traditional approach, including reduced post-operative pain, faster recovery, and quicker return of thigh-muscle function. By accessing the knee joint through a smaller incision (4-6 inches), tissue disruption is minimized. In addition, quadriceps-sparing techniques are used to open the knee joint. This means that, rather than cutting the quadriceps tendon and knee-extensor muscles at the front of the thigh, these vital tendons are preserved. Dr. Clark’s less-invasive knee replacement patients typically return home from the hospital the day of surgery or the next day.
BRINGING INNOVATIONS IN JOINT CARE TO THE CEDAR VALLEY
TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE ARE KEY
Dr. Clark completed his residency under Dr. Paul Droulliard, participating in over 1000 total joint replacements alongside the accomplished surgeon. Leaving residency with extensive joint-replacement experience, Dr. Clark began to study progressive surgical trends early in his career.
TOURNIQUET-LESS SURGERY | REDUCED PAIN AND SWELLING | WALKING WITHIN THREE HOURS
Traditional American training always includes a tourniquet during total knee surgery. Dr. Clark began to trial tourniquet-less knee replacements following exposure to the method during his 1999 A.O. International Fellowship at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Observing reduced post-operative bleeding, less swelling, and a marked decrease in post-operative pain in his tourniquet-less patients, Dr. Clark began to perform tourniquet-less knee replacements on the vast majority of his patients in 2000. The strategy showed results—most of his patients returned to functional motion much faster than when a tourniquet was used, with most patients up and walking within 2-3 hours after surgery.
CUTTING-EDGE, EVIDENCE-BASED TECHNIQUES
While he has been consistently successful in identifying new, cutting-edge national trends in joint replacement surgery, Dr. Clark takes care to bring only tested and proven techniques to his patients.
I was trained not to be the “cowboy.” Not to be the first or the last on something, never to experiment on patients, but to always look for new trends and techniques that are innovative, yet will later become accepted practice. – Dr. Clark
Traditional total knee replacement mandates use of a constant passive motion machine (CPM) following surgery. The first to eliminate CPM from his total knee protocols at Allen Memorial Hospital, Dr. Clark saw reduced blood loss, better post-operative wound healing, and quicker return to functional motion in his patients.
TRANEXEMIC ACID | REDUCED BLOOD-LOSS
Dr. Clark was the first surgeon to employ the drug Traneximic acid (TXA) in surgery at Allen Memorial Hospital. Now common in all total joint replacements throughout the United States, TXA inhibits fibrinolyisis, a process that causes bleeding, thus reducing blood loss during surgery, and ultimately minimizing wound complications.