What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, occurs when there is a breakdown in the cushioning cartilage between joints, such as the knee. When this cartilage wears down, bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and damage to other parts of the knee. While the exact cause of OA is unknown there are several factors that may increase risk of developing OA1:

The strongest risk factor for OA. OA can start in young adulthood – often due to joint injury1

OA affects both men and women. However, before age 45, OA occurs more frequently in men; after age 45, OA is more common in women1

Traumatic injury to a joint increases risk of developing OA1

Chances of developing OA generally increase with the amount of weight the body’s joints have to bear1

People with joints that are not aligned correctly, like bowlegs, dislocated hips, or double-jointedness, are more likely to develop OA in those joints1

Many people, roughly 16% of all adults age 45+, experience some symptoms of osteoarthritis and of those that do, 58% are women and 42% are men. The disease onset is gradual and typically begins after the age of 40. Incidence rates increase with age and then level off around 80

Osteoarthritis generally presents with pain that has developed gradually, with stiffness or swelling of the joint - mostly associated with activity. A doctor performs a physical examination that focuses on the patient's walk, range of motion in the joint and swelling or tenderness. Cartilage loss can be generally confirmed with X-rays that showw a loss of cartilage in the affected knee

Treatment Options

Osteoarthritis can be treated non-surgically, with drugs or with a variety of surgical treatment options. Nonsurgical options generally begin with lifestyle modification—losing weight, switching from running to lower impact exercises, and minimizing activities that may aggravate the patient’s condition. Physical therapy can help increase range of motion and flexibility in affected joints, and supportive devices like braces, canes and specialized shoes can assist with pain and weight-bearing issues.

Certain drugs are available in treatment of OA, primarily surrounding anti-inflammatory and pain management medications.3


1. What is Osteoarthritis? Accessed August 12, 2014. http://arthritis.com/osteoarthritis_symptoms
2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. September 1, 2011. Accessed August 12, 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm
3. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Arthritis of the Knee. Accessed August 12, 2014. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00212


Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, occurs when there is a breakdown in the cushioning cartilage between joints, such as the knee. When this cartilage wears down, bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, stiffness and damage to other parts of the knee. While the exact cause of OA is unknown there are several factors that may increase risk of developing OA
While there is no cure for osteoarthritis of the knee, there are multiple treatment options to manage pain and that may delay the progression of the disease. Talk to your doctor; he or she may prescribe exercises, weight loss or medication.
If osteoarthritis has progressed to an advanced stage and is causing severe pain, surgery may be the best option. Instead of masking the pain or accommodating limited mobility, a partial knee replacement may be able to restore knee function and allow osteoarthritis sufferers to return to the activities they love.
Partial knee replacement is an alternative to total knee replacement for patients with early to mid-progression osteoarthritis. For these patients, damage is generally limited to one compartment of the knee. The damaged portion of the bone is removed while the ligaments vital for knee stability are spared, leaving healthy cartilage and bone intact. Partial knee replacements may offer several benefits over total knee replacements, including:
—Less pain1
—Quicker rehabilitation1,2
—Lower risk of complications2
—Shorter hospital stay3
Traditional partial knee replacements have been challenging procedures because orthopedic surgeons had to place implants by relying on mechanical guides and feel. In this method, cutting blocks guide a surgical saw in removing the diseased bone and creating room for an implant. In recent years, advanced surgical approaches involving robotic assistance have provided a new level of accuracy.4
A partial knee replacement with Navio provides robotic assistance to your surgeon through an advanced computer system that relays precise information about your knee to the user. Navio does not perform the procedure; rather it assists the surgeon to present patient-specific information for a unique surgical plan, and provides feedback so that the surgeon precisely places your implant. The Navio system cannot perform the surgery without the surgeon; you remain in excellent hands.
Anatomical data collected during the procedure is used to generate a 3-dimensional model of your knee, which the surgeon uses to precisely plan your partial knee replacement. With Navio, proper implant placement and knee balance, crucial to a successful surgery, are achieved virtually before any cut to the bone is made.
When your surgical plan is set, Navio’s robotic-assistance guides the surgeon to accurately resurface the diseased bone for the implant.
Individual patients’ post-operative care will vary. A physical therapist will prescribe daily exercises to help restore knee strength and function, increase range of motion, and help prevent blood clots. Some will utilize Continuous Passive Motion machines that gently flex and extend the knee to aid in recovery. It is common to experience mild swelling, stiffness, and tightness in the knee. Follow-up visits may be scheduled to check up on your health and progress as you recover.
Your physician will instruct you when it’s appropriate to return to various activities. Patients are typically allowed to walk with the assistance of a cane, crutches, or walker shortly after surgery. How you regain knee function and strength will determine how quickly other activities such as driving or walking unassisted can be attempted.

1. Hall, VL, et al., “Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty (Alias Uni-Knee): An Overview With Nursing Implications,” Orthopaedic Nursing, 2004; 23(3): 163-171.
2. Brown, NM, et al., “Total Knee Arthroplasty Has Higher Postoperative Morbidity Than Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty: A Multicenter Analysis,” The Journal of Arthroplasty, 2012.
3. Bolognesi, M, et al., “Unicompartmental Knee Arthroplasty and Total Knee Arthroplasty Among Medicare Beneficiaries, 2000 to 2009,” J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2013 Nov;95:e174(1-9).
4. Lonner, JH, et al., “High Degree of Accuracy of a Novel Image-free Handheld Robot for Unicondylar Knee Arthroplasty in a Cadaveric Study,” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Advanced online publication. DOI 10.1007/s11999-014-3764-x

Resources | Understanding Knee Pain

Carefully consider the risks and benefits of any surgical procedure. Certain patients should avoid a Navio procedure, including children, pregnant women, patients who have mental or neuromuscular disorders that do not allow control of the knee joint, and morbidly obese patients. Consult with your physician for more information and to determineif Navio surgery is right for you. Be sure to ask any questions that you have and that all of your questions are answered. No surgery results can ever be guaranteed, so it is important that you understand the risks as well as the benefits of any procedure.

Blue Belt Technologies is a developer and manufacturer of “smart” surgical devices. Blue Belt Technologies is not a health care provider and cannot give medical or professional advice. Any information provided by Blue Belt Technologies is for general, information purposes only, and is not a substitute for advice from a physician or other qualified health care provider.
This information is for general, educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Patients should carefully consider the risks and benefits of any treatment or surgical procedure and consult with a qualified healthcare provider. No medical treatment or surgery results can ever be guaranteed so it is important that patients understand the risks as well as the benefits of any course of treatment.

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