Is the Repicci Knee a Valid Alternative for Total Knee Replacement?

Question: Is the Repicci Knee a valid alternative for total knee replacement?

Answer: When advanced arthritis is present on either the inside or the outside of a knee joint, does one have to wait in pain, until both sides of the knee are damaged enough for total knee replacement (TKR) to be considered? Fortunately there are alternatives. A high tibial osteotomy is a procedure that involves breaking the tibia bone and realigning the knee to put the weight on the uninvolved side.

In my opinion a better alternative is a unicompartmental implant like the Repicci II unicondylar program. If you are 55 and older and have the following symptoms you may benefit from the procedure: pain while standing and walking short distances, pain changing position i.e. from a sitting to a standing position, chronic knee swelling, weakness or locking of the knee, and failure of the knee to respond to conservative medical management. This procedure is only considered when 1/2 of the knee joint is perfectly normal, and is not recommended as an alternative for TKR. Why this procedure instead of going ahead with a standard TKR?Unicompartmental implant has the advantage over TKR cosmetically by utilizing a smaller incision, by less blood loss, lower morbidity, and shorter recovery time. Less bone loss is required thus allowing future knee replacement, if eventually necessary, to be more easily performed.

90% of Repicci unicompartmental implants last in the 10 year range, and provide adequate pain relief and improved quality of life. (Answer provided by the late Dr. Raymond Federman, aka Dr. Bones, who passed away on September 2, 2003. The care of his patients even in retirement was always his joy.)

Continue Reading