Orthopaedic Research Clinic of Alaska
Cartilage Restoration Center
Total joint replacement is a highly effective surgery, first done in 1925. It has become a common orthopaedic solution for patients with severe cartilage damage, but it is an end-of-the-line remedy. Once the patient's own joint is removed there is no going back to pre-surgery options.
Dr. Vermillion would prefer to treat patients early whenever possible, restoring their cartilage to functional levels, and postponing, or even avoiding altogether, the need for future joint replacement. Using newer techniques Dr. Vermillion is taking orthopaedics to a new level, focusing on restoration of the cartilage rather than surgery on the bones.
Of the 1.5 million patients treated by arthroscopy in 2006, our literature shows that almost 60% had damage to their cartilage, which is almost never treated with arthroscopy. A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that physical therapy and arthroscopy had the same value after two years when used for treatment of cartilage damage. However, there are new ways to repair cartilage to prevent long-term disability and loss of function. We are developing some of those methods and our early results show great promise. Review of the literature of follow-up of Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstructions shows that success was based on the amount of cartilage damage present when the ACL was repaired. Other literature has shown that if you fix cartilage lesions within one year of injury almost all of the patients go back to high level sports, but if treatment is delayed only one-third will return to their previous level of sports.
Our focus here at ORCA is to treat the cartilage as well as other problems in the knee to restore function and obtain optimal results.
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT AS OF JANUARY 1, 2011, ORCA PROVIDERS ARE NO LONGER PARTICIPATING IN MEDICARE.
MEDICARE CANNOT BE BILLED FOR ANY OF OUR SERVICES, BUT WE ARE HAPPY TO SCHEDULE PATIENTS IN A PRIVATE PAY STATUS.