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Volume 41 Number 2, March/April 2004
    Pages 187  — 194

Abstract - Load-shifting brace treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee: A minimum 2 1/2-year follow-up study

Nicholas J. Giori, MD, PhD

Surgical Service and Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA; Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Abstract — Objectives in treating primarily unicompartmental knee arthritis with a load-shifting brace are pain relief, compliance, brace durability, and complication-free treatment over multiple years. This was a single institution retrospective chart review, radiograph review, and telephone survey of patients treated from 1997 to 1999 with a load-shifting knee brace. Forty-six patients (49 knees) with a minimum 2 1/2-year follow-up (average 3.3 years) were reviewed. Kaplan-Meier survivorship analysis revealed that load-shifting brace use had a survival of 76% at 1 year, 69% at 2 years, and 61% at 3 years. Younger patients had a higher likelihood of longer brace use than older patients. One patient had ipsilateral leg swelling and a pulmonary embolus after initiating bracing. Eliminating the high numbers of early failures would be desirable. One should be aware of the potential complication of venous thrombosis and thromboembolism.
Key words: brace, knee, osteoarthritis, survivorship.

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