Partial knee replacement often makes more sense than total knee replacement
If people have severe knee problems, surgery is often done. This usually includes a total knee replacement. However, researchers have now found that a so-called partial knee replacement could make more sense for many sufferers.
In their current study, the scientists from the Nuffield Department of Orthopedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) at the internationally renowned University of Oxford found that partial knee replacement is more sensible for many people with knee problems than total knee replacement. The doctors published the results in the English-language journal "BMJ Open".
Many people could benefit from partial knee replacement
A partial replacement of the knee joint is also even cheaper, the researchers explain. However, most surgeons have rarely performed the less invasive procedure. Partial knee replacement is particularly suitable for people who have osteoarthritis in only one side of the knee. In this case, the knee pain usually only affects the inner side. Such a medical intervention can be performed with the help of a small incision using minimally invasive surgery. However, this form of treatment is only suitable for people who have strong ligaments inside the knee, the doctors say.
So far, only about nine percent of knee prostheses are partial
The main reason for knee surgery is arthrosis. Approximately half of the affected patients are estimated to be suitable for partial replacement, according to the researchers. An analysis of the data from the National Joint Registry showed that of a total of 98,147 knee prostheses that were used in 2016, only nine percent were partial.
Health authorities could save a lot of money
A key strength of the study was that it used data from a large number of people about their actual operations, their GP visits, and their own reported effects on quality of life, explains study author Dr. Rafael Pinedo-Villanueva from the Nuffield Department of Orthopedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences. Strong evidence has been found that partial knee replacement is cheaper for both patients and the health care system.
Success through partial replacement was better
Whether the patients had partial or full replacement depended on the surgeon, as did the success of the surgery. If surgeons used partial replacements more often, they achieved better results compared to surgeons who used full replacements more often, the scientists explain.
More partial replacement knee joints should be used
If surgeons try to use partial replacement knee joints in a quarter or more of their surgeries, this will significantly improve the results of knee replacement surgery and save a lot of money, study author Prof David Murray explains. In addition, more people would get a partial replacement joint and benefit from the procedure.
The use of partial knee replacement saves the population a lot of money
If surgeons used partial knee replacement more often, the proportion of such replacement joints would increase above the current value of nine percent. This would result in an increase in economic and health benefits for the population. (as)