Your knees are vital joints as they provide strength, structure and flexibility to the entire body. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most-used joints in the body, meaning they are more susceptible to wear and injury, especially with age. While there are plenty of treatments for knee pain and injuries, there are times when the only option to alleviate knee concerns is knee replacement surgery. This type of surgery has previously been difficult and expensive, and most traditional knee replacement surgery patients have required lengthy recovery times and have been subject to limited mobility during recovery.
Today, however, advancements in surgical tools and techniques have allowed medical professionals to perform knee replacement procedures faster and more effectively while reducing recovery times dramatically. There are a variety of methods used to perform knee replacement surgery today, but one of the most advanced is known as Nanoknee, and it utilizes minimally-invasive techniques to preserve existing ligaments which speeds up healing times.
How Nanoknee Works
In a Nanoknee knee replacement, bones in the knee joint are shaved down using a sculpting tool to resurface the damaged tissue. Then, an implant is created that has been mapped using three-dimensional imaging for accuracy. This makes each knee implant specific to the unique structure of each patient’s joints and needs.
By resurfacing bone tissue according to three-dimensional imaging, surgeons are able to only remove what is needed down to the exact millimeter. Combined with the custom implant, this process allows for the final replacement to work more efficiently with the body and promotes faster healing because not only is less tissue removed, but the body has an easier time adjusting to the implant due to its natural fit. This procedure does not rely on heavy doses of pain medication during recovery, and instead, it employs a range of pain management techniques to reduce the potential for addiction or damage caused by prescription narcotics.
Medicare Coverage of Nanoknee
In most cases, Medicare benefits do provide coverage for knee replacement, but because Nanoknee is a new technique, it is only offered at select locations. As a result, the chances of having Nanoknee covered may depend on your specific Medicare benefits. If your Medicare coverage is through a Medicare Advantage PPO, for instance, you may be able to visit a provider that offers Nanoknee. Without the PPO supplement, you may need to file for an exemption in order to have Nanoknee covered since Medicare only offers coverage for certain procedures at approved surgical centers.
When knee replacement is covered, whether it be a traditional knee replacement or a Nanoknee procedure, it will typically be covered by Medicare Part B as this is the outpatient benefit that provides coverage for surgical procedures. The only other option is to have knee replacement covered by Medicare Part A when the procedure is carried out when you are formally admitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility; however, since skilled nursing facilities are generally for recovery, it is unlikely that this type of scenario would present itself.
Medicare Part D offers coverage benefits for prescription drugs, so this part of Medicare would apply if you were given a prescription for pain medication during recovery. Again, however, the Nanoknee approach is one that focuses on pain management instead of pain medication, so you may or may not need to use Medicare Part D for your medications.
Medicare Advantage recipients may find it easier to obtain coverage or a partial reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to Nanoknee. This is because many Medicare Advantage plans sometimes offer discounts on premiums, co-pays and some types of deductible expenses. MA plans also offer an annual out-of-pocket maximum.