Background: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is largely attributable to chronic excessive and aberrant joint loading. The purpose of this pilot study was to quantify radiographic changes in subchondral bone after treatment with a minimally invasive joint unloading implant (KineSpring(®) Knee Implant System).
Methods: Nine patients with unilateral medial knee OA resistant to nonsurgical therapy were treated with the KineSpring System and followed for 2 years. Main outcomes included Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain, function, and stiffness subscores and independent core laboratory determinations of joint space width and fractal signature of the tibial cortex.
Results: WOMAC scores, on average, improved by 92% for pain, 91% for function, and 79% for stiffness over the 2-year follow-up period. Joint space width in the medial compartment of the treated knee significantly increased from 0.9 mm at baseline to 3.1 mm at 2 years; joint space width in the medial compartment of the untreated knee was unchanged. Fractal signatures of the vertically oriented trabeculae in the medial compartment decreased by 2.8% in the treated knee and increased by 2.1% in the untreated knee over 2 years. No statistically significant fractal signature changes were observed in the horizontally oriented trabeculae in the medial compartment or in the horizontal or vertical trabeculae of the lateral compartment in the treated knee.
Conclusion: Preliminary evidence suggests that the KineSpring System may modify knee OA disease progression by increasing joint space width and improving subchondral bone trabecular integrity, thereby reducing pain and improving joint function.
Keywords: KineSpring; disease modification; joint space; pain; trabecular.