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Outpatient partial knee replacement might be answer for some patients

By Dr. Edmund T. Carroll III | Aug 04, 2011

Source: CapeGazette.com

With an aging and more active population, patients are searching for more tailored procedures to give them the best opportunity to return to their activities.

Osteoarthritis affects around 20 million people each year in the United States with more than 300,000 total knee replacements being performed annually. Seventy percent of these procedures are performed in patients over the age of 65, but they are becoming more frequent in the younger population. By the year 2030, it is expected 70 million people will be affected by osteoarthritis and may require orthopaedic intervention.

With the changing healthcare environment, Dr. Edmund Carroll performed the first outpatient partial knee replacement in July 2008 at Lewes Surgery Center in Lewes and now has more than 100 procedures performed. This has refined knee-replacement surgery for a significant portion of the patient community, offering outpatient partial knee replacement.

Partial knee replacement, also called uni-compartment knee replacement, is a bone-sparing alternative to a total knee replacement for early intervention for patients whose arthritic damage is limited to just one compartment of the knee. It preserves all the patient’s ligaments, helping to maintain a more natural feel and allowing an earlier return to normal activities of daily living. As a less-invasive procedure, there is less pain and swelling and a quicker recovery from surgery. Patients benefit from the luxury and convenience of recovery in their own home, with in-house nursing and physical therapy provided at a lower cost to the healthcare system.

However, not all patients are candidates for outpatient surgery; they must meet specific selection criteria for an optimal outcome. Given the rapid advances in partial knee-replacement surgery, a younger population of patients with advanced disease can be served with a variety of implant choices matched specifically to the patients’ needs in the form of fixed-bearing, mobile-bearing and custom-implant designs, avoiding a delay in treatment. Implant design advances allow orthopaedic surgeons to demand a match in accordance with the patient’s specific needs, level of pain and immobility.

With a more active aging population, rising healthcare costs, expanded surgical indications and advances in implant designs, outpatient partial knee replacement will be more commonplace for the patients in the local community and a more attractive option to allow the patient to resume many of the activities enjoyed before surgery.


Dr. Edmund T. Carroll III is a knee-replacement surgeon at Orthopaedic Associates of Southern Delaware.