Knee replacement is effective treatment for degeneration caused by Blount disease

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Knee replacement is effective treatment for degeneration caused by Blount disease

According to Loyola University Medical Center study, Blount disease middle age patients, who underwent joint replacements of knees, were found to have stable knees, excellent range of motion and no need for pain medications.

According to corresponding author Harold Rees, MD, and colleagues report "Patients with Blount or Blount-like deformity can undergo successful total knee arthroplasty [replacement]," The study is published in the Journal of Arthroplasty.

Blount disease is a disorder of the tibia (shin bone) that occurs in young children and adolescents. It is more common in African Americans and is associated with obesity and learning to walk early. The inner part of the tibia, just below the knee, does not develop normally. Consequently, the lower leg turns inward, like a bowleg. It can be treated with braces or surgery to place the shin bone in the proper position.

In the Loyola study, researchers reviewed the records of five Blount disease patients. Three patients had replacements on both knees and two patients had replacements on one knee. Four patients were African Americans and four were male and all were obese. The average age at the time of the knee replacements was 49.9. Patients were followed-up an average of 75.2 months (6.3 years) after their knee replacements.

Researchers used a scoring system, developed by the Knee Society, that combines clinical, functional and satisfaction scores. The mean Knee Society score was 212.5, out of a maximum possible score of 255. Patients also were rated on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), which rates patients on a scale of 0 to 96, with higher scores representing more pain, stiffness and disability. The patients' mean score was just 13.5.

Dr. Rees and colleagues write that the study is limited by its small size, retrospective design and lack of long-term follow-up. However, "the main purpose was to highlight surgical considerations in performing total knee arthroplasty in patients with Blount disease or Blount-like deformity. Despite a challenging patient population in which to perform total knee arthroplasty, we show that it can be done with a low risk of complication and reasonable medium-term results."

Loyola University Health System
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