Ten years ago I had a total knee replacement. The staples got infected and I have a huge, ugly scar on my leg. I hear they can do it now with a much smaller cut. Where is the scar for the new method of knee replacement?

Surgeons are trying different ways to use the mini-incision for knee joint replacement. Reports are favorable for the mid-vastus approach. This is similar to the standard incision in the middle of the knee but smaller and slightly off-center.

The quadriceps muscle along the front of the thigh is made up of four major muscles. They work together to straighten the knee. The inside muscle group of the quadriceps is called the vastus medialis.

The surgeon splits the vastus medialis muscle in the direction of its fibers. The incision starts just above the patella (kneecap) and goes down to just below the patella.

A slightly different incision may be used for obese or very muscular patients. The surgeon still starts above the patella but curves the line around the edge of the kneecap rather than cutting straight down. The scar looks more like a question mark.