By Dr. Anthony Bevilacqua, Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center
Knee pain is one of the most common ailments for athletes, weekend warriors, runners and even equestrians. All too often, patients push through the pain or ignore the warning signs, hoping things will get better.
That approach often starts from a place of fear – fear of knee replacement surgery, long recovery times and the concerns about never returning to an active lifestyle. Thankfully, advancements in knee surgery have put many of these fears to rest.
For many patients, an unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (Uni Knee) is an alternative to full knee replacement surgery. Uni Knee is a partial knee replacement that conserves two-thirds of the knee, compared to a total knee replacement.
As a result, patients experience a more natural-feeling knee and shorter recovery times, because the surgery is less invasive. One of the goals of the Uni Knee procedure is to conserve bone and soft tissue, giving patients a solution to knee pain, before the disease progresses to the whole knee.
Osteoarthritis that affects the cartilage of the knee can require a total knee replacement, involving all three compartments of the knee and the ACL. When the disease is caught early enough, the Uni Knee allows patients to keep the healthy portions of their knee and ACL.
Given the Uni Knee option, it’s even more important for those experiencing knee pain to get an assessment sooner, rather than later. Although every patient is different, Uni Knee accommodates a range of motion from standing (0 degrees) to kneeling (155 degrees), which is an improvement over previous partial knee replacement options.
The Uni Knee is now possible on an outpatient basis in healthy patients, particularly among athletes, runners and equestrians who typically suffer from knee pain. Regardless of the treatment solution, knee pain should not prevent you from remaining active and keeping your heart healthy.
Dr. Anthony Bevilacqua is a Board certified orthopaedic surgeon with Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center (SMOC). Visit smoc-pt.com to learn more about Dr. Bevilacqua and the rest of the team at SMOC. He performs Uni Knee surgery at Sentara Obici Hospital and at Obici’s Ambulatory Surgery Center in Suffolk, next to SMOC’s Suffolk office.