Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty Procedure Reduces Cost, Recovery Time

Dr. Peter Kung
Dr. Peter Kung

Peter Kung, MD, of Longview Orthopedic Associates (LOA) is a big fan of the unicompartmental knee replacement (uni-knee or partial knee replacement) – because of the numerous benefits for patients.

The knee can be broken down into three compartments: the medial (inside), the lateral (outside) and the patella-femoral (beneath the kneecap). A traditional knee replacement replaces all three compartments and removes the ACL, one of the ligaments in the knee. A partial knee replacement (uni-knee) replaces only one compartment and spares the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).

The most common place to get symptomatic arthritis is the medial aspect of the knee. This occurs when – over time – people lose the cartilage covering the bones; once bone-on-bone contact occurs, pain results. While the uni-knee procedure is done most commonly for the medial compartment, it can be performed on the lateral and the patella-femoral compartments as well.

Replacing only a single compartment has numerous benefits, Kung said. Normal cartilage is left alone. There is less blood loss, recovery is much quicker, and range of motion is typically much better with a uni-knee procedure than a total knee replacement.

To date, Kung is the only Cowlitz County surgeon to perform a uni-knee procedure in an outpatient setting (Pacific Surgical Center). He has instructed other surgeons and has traveled throughout the country to demonstrate techniques for this procedure to surgeons and industry leaders. (Related story at http://www.longvieworthopaedic.com/about-us/latest-loa-news/kung-instructs-surgeons-at-master-shoulder-and-knee-courses/)

“I started doing this surgery at the hospital in 2014 and at PSC at the start of this year,” said Kung, who has performed more than 50 uni-knee procedures. “We’ve had great results, with no infections and a 100 percent satisfaction rate. Patients have had a great experience and have enjoyed recovering in their own homes. To be able to do this, we have a team approach incorporating pre-operative teaching and protocols that include working closely with local therapists from Longview all the way to the Coast.”

“Cost savings are anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 for the insurance company,” Kung said. “Depending on the patient’s deductible a great deal of that savings is translated over to the patient.”

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Longview Orthopedic Associates at 360.501.3400.

Additional information is available at http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00585