When we think about knee continuous passive motion (CPM), we usually think about recovering and restoring ROM in the TKR population. We are also using CPM for ACL repairs based on doctor preference, however Kinex believes that the medical community might be missing the opportunity to leverage the recuperative benefits of CPM following articular cartilage repair procedures of the knee.

In 2010, Fazalare, Griesser, Siston et al. performed a study evaluating the use of CPM following knee cartilage defect surgery. In short, results showed that patients who used a knee CPM following articular cartilage surgery of the knee had better histologic outcomes compared to patients who did not use CPM following surgery.

Procedures Intended to Restore Knee Joint Integrity

As surgical techniques advance and improve, there is greater emphasis on maintaining and restoring articular cartilage to improve the health and outcomes of patients who undergo knee surgery. Continuous Passive Motion therapy can assist in the retraining and ultimate strengthening of articular cartilage. The following procedures are all procedures that intend to restore the integrity of the knee joint vs. replace it:

  • Microfracture surgery
  • Osteochondral grafting
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)
  • Treatment of osteochondral dissecans
  • Repair of tibial plateau fractures
  • Meniscal repairs
Senior couple running

How Does CPM Motivate Healing of Articular Cartilage?

CPM is frequently used following articular cartilage repair to increase synovial fluid movement and joint surface articulation in an attempt to offset the potential complications resulting from being non–weight bearing. The concept of motion as therapy is based on the principles that synovial joints are designed to move, that articular cartilage receives nutrition via the movement of synovial fluid, and that prolonged immobilization of joints is detrimental to all involved tissues, including bone and soft tissue structures.

Will Insurance Cover CPM for Articular Cartilage Repair?

Performing the right surgery or technique for each condition is critical to a successful outcome, and so is choosing the right post-op rehab protocol. The post-operative protocol for these procedures typically involves 6 weeks of non or partial weight bearing of the surgical limb to allow the cartilage to repair and proliferate.

Based on the study mentioned earlier, medical policies from certain insurance companies allow for up to 6 weeks of coverage for knee CPM following articular cartilage procedures of the knee.