Are Partial Knee Replacements a Passing Trend or the Future of Knee Care?

Becker's Orthopedic, Spine & Pain Management Review—September 15, 2011

Geoffrey Westrich, M.D., Director for Research for Joint Replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City offers his perspective on the future of partial knee replacements.

As time goes on, the technology is always getting better. Not only does that help the design of the prosthesis and accuracy of placement, but it also improves the diagnostic modalities we have. As technology gets better, we'll have better ways to look at the knee before surgery. The strength of the magnet in an MRI is improving and we have better protocols for using MRI scanners to look at the cartilage than we did 10 years ago. Eventually, there will also be better technology during surgery where surgeons will be able to detect a problem that might not be visible to the naked eye.

The revision technology will also get better in the future and we won't be as apprehensive about converting partials into totals. It's not a surgery that should be done by someone who doesn't do a lot of them. There is a steep learning curve, and patients might do better if they go to a joint replacement hospital so they can have it done technically in the right way.

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