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Does arthritis progress in the retained compartments after ‘Oxford’ medial unicompartmental arthroplasty?


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We determined the outcome of 56 ‘Oxford’ unicompartmental replacements performed for anteromedial osteoarthritis of the knee between 1982 and 1987. Of these, 24 were in patients who had died without revision, one was lost to follow-up and two had been revised. Of the remaining 29 knees, 26 were examined clinically and radiologically, two were only examined clinically and one patient was contacted by telephone. The mean age of the patients was 80.3 years.

At a mean follow-up of 11.4 years (10 to 14) the measurements of the knee score, range of movement and degree of deformity were not significantly different from those made one to two years after operation, except that the range of flexion had improved. Comparison of fluoroscopically-controlled radiographs at a similar interval of time showed no change in the appearance of the lateral compartments. The retained articular cartilage continued to function for ten or more years which suggests that anteromedial osteoarthritis may be considered as a focal disorder of the knee. This justifies continued efforts to develop methods of treatment which preserve intact joint structures.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr A. E. Weale at the Department of Orthopaedics, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS2 8HW, UK.

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