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Senior Health Week: Arthritis
Health News You Can Use •

Arthritis News:

New Option for Patients With Early-Stage Knee Osteoarthritis

Patients suffering from early-stage osteoarthritis of the knee now have a promising new alternative that could delay knee replacement surgery.

The UniSpacer, a small, minimally invasive device that fits between natural bone structures of the knee, allows surgeons to preserve the patient's bone by replacing only damaged cartilage.

Traditionally, short-term options for delaying knee replacement included arthroscopic surgery or regular, extended use of pain medications. Long-term treatment meant a partial or total replacement of the knee with an artificial implant.

The UniSpacer, however, adapts to -- and moves with -- the normal motion of the individual knee, and does not require bone cuts. The metallic insert improves joint stability while helping to relieve the arthritic pain.

"This is an exciting time in the area of joint restoration," said Dr. Richard Hallock, surgeon who designed the UniSpacer. "With this new procedure, we may be able to extend a patient's active lifestyle by delaying traditional knee replacement and retaining the natural anatomy."

Performed under general or regional anesthesia, the surgery generally takes about an hour, and most patients are able to resume normal activities within a few months.

Source: Arthritis Week of May 19, 2002

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