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New knee surgery means faster recovery

When Bill Ragon’s knee started giving him constant pain about two years ago, he put off having knee replacement surgery. A certified registered nurse anesthetist, Ragon dreaded going through the six weeks of recovery time that replacement surgery generally takes.

Then he found out that he was a good candidate for a new procedure, called the Oxford uni-compartmental knee replacement system that was being done by several physicians at the West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic.

Within a day of his surgery, he was walking with a cane; within three to four days, he no longer needed the cane. “Recovery was much faster,” Ragon says. “In two weeks, I already was meeting preset goals for extending and bending my knee.”

“The Oxford Knee is the only FDA-approved, free floating meniscal uni-compartmental knee system available in the United States,” says Dr. Michael Cobb, who performed Ragon’s surgery. “It has been used throughout Europe for more than two decades with excellent clinical results.”

Dr. Lowell Stonecipher, Dr. Michael Cobb, Dr. David Pearce and Dr. Jason Hutchison, all board-certified orthopedic surgeons at West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic, have attended an advanced instructional course on the Oxford uni-compartmental knee replacement system. They are the only physicians in the area doing the procedure.

“Today’s joint replacement candidates are younger and more active than ever before,” Dr. Cobb explained. “For these patients, who expect to make a quick return to work and other daily activities, the Oxford Knee System may be the treatment of choice. Unlike total knee replacement involving removal of all the knee joint surfaces, a uni-compartmental knee replacement replaces only the medial side of the knee joint, and is designed to preserve healthy knee cartilage and ligaments.”

“The Oxford Knee System has provided excellent pain relief and function in the patients we have done,” Dr. Cobb says. “It can be a great option for patients who have arthritis that mostly involves the medial part of their knee and can be done for patients at any age so that their quality of life can be improved.”

Ragon is an example of the type of patient who is a good candidate for the procedure. In 1973, an injury to his knee required him to have a medial meniscectomy (the removal of the cartilage on the inside of his knee joint that acts as a shock absorber between the tibia and femur). With no cartilage on that part of his knee, Ragon’s active lifestyle caused the bones to wear out.

Ragon was delighted to find out that his friend, Dr. Cobb, was trained to do the surgery. Instead of replacing the total knee, Dr. Cobb replaced just the damaged side.

“He was able to spare the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and other important muscles and ligaments,” Ragon says. “By having the less extensive surgery, I had less pain and a quicker rehab, and I was back to work sooner.”

“I can now do anything I need to do from going up and down stairs to sloshing around flooded rice fields in waders. I wish I would have had the surgery sooner.”