The evaluation of Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) varies greatly between clinician groups, Primary Care Providers (PCP) to various specialists, including orthopaedic surgeons. It also varies considerably within these groups. So generally accepted approach exists with most clinicians using what they have been taught to do and feel comfortable with the clinical encounter plus X-rays, these varying from reports alone, X-Ray views to MRIs.
As a result the diagnosis of OA is delayed, its severity poorly defined and the need for care less than optimal. Referrals for specialist care are frequently misguided, too early or late for surgery.
Our approach is towards a standardized evaluation based on Evidence Based studies. Once an evaluation is made it helps to target the appropriate surgical or non surgical care.
Our clinical studies indicate that specific combinations of Disability and Radiographic Grade correlate well with recommendations for Knee Replacement Surgery, and below these levels conservative care is appropriate. When applied early, these approaches have great potential for improved symptoms and function with lessening requirements for surgical intervention. For more information on the studies click here.
The results of the evaluation are portrayed in readily understandable report. This includes the X-ray images, their grading and the disability level scores. Considerations for care, based on best practice guidelines, are then matched to these and presented in straightforward terms. Risk factors for poor outcomes, that include low X-ray grades and younger age, are identified. Potential for higher risks for complications, such as obesity, are also identified. Now the stage is set for the discussion between the patient and the care provider on the care specifics, a very important decision when surgery is being considered. Also, the setting is ideal for the patient to identify their key expectations on the care and gain a real understanding of potential limitations.