How do I know if BioniCare is the right treatment for me?
BioniCare is prescribed for osteoarthritis of the knee and is a viable alternative to knee replacement surgery. A physician can help you determine whether BioniCare is the best treatment option for you. If your physician is unfamiliar with BioniCare, we can send you a physician’s information package. Take it to your physician’s office at your next appointment.
Can BioniCare be used on other parts of the body?
BioniCare is a clinically proven, non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatment currently available for osteoarthritis of the knee only.
Will my health insurance cover the costs?
Insurance coverage varies. Currently, many health insurance plans do cover the cost of the Custom Made Unloading Knee brace portion of the BioniCare Knee System. The BioniCare signal generator, electrodes and Night-Wrap system may be covered by some health insurance plans. The Bracing Experts reimbursement professionals will help determine your insurance coverage and will answer any questions you have about this process.
How effective is the BioniCare device?
The treatment option that is best for you should be discussed with your physician. However, some patients experience a reduction in pain starting at 250 hours (one month of wear at 8 hours per day). One of the published BioniCare studies showed that the effect of the device after 2250 hours (approximately 11 months of usage) was equal to that of a total knee replacement, without incurring the risks and downtime of surgery. Further, another study showed that total knee replacement candidates who used BioniCare for an average of 11 months, were able to avoid the surgery for at least 4 years.
How does BioniCare work?
The BioniCare generator produces an electrical signal that mimics the natural impulse found in a healthy knee. The signal is delivered through electrodes that are applied to the knee and thigh. BioniCare is combined with a knee brace and/or a Night-Wrap, depending on the patient’s needs and the physician’s recommendations.
How long will it take until I notice an improvement in my knee?
While some patients notice improvements in pain after only one month of use, Studies show that on average most patients will see significant improvement after 750 hours (3 months) of use, and the greatest improvements are achieved after 2250 hours.
Why is the device integrated into a brace?
Because it may take 750 hours before a patient notices significant improvement, we have incorporated the device into a brace that can provide immediate benefit for a patient. The brace reduces pain in the joint by taking some of the pressure off the knee and off-loading it onto the brace. Some patients may take a few weeks to feel this effect due to swelling and inflammation. However, the combination of these two products provides both a short and long-term solution for the patient.
What will I feel when wearing the BioniCare device?
You should not feel anything while wearing the device. When set correctly, the electrical signal is imperceptible.
How will I know it is working?
The device will display the number of volts on it so that you know when it is running. If it becomes detached or the signal is not being transmitted, it will display an error and emit warning beeps. We recommend that you chart your progress. Often, small day-to-day changes in your condition may not be noticeable, but when you chart your progress on a monthly basis, you will see that your pain level, range of motion and functional activity have increased as a result of wearing the device.
What is the recommended break-in schedule for a new brace or a new brace with BioniCare?
It’s important that you allow your body to adjust to a new brace (or new brace with BioniCare) by starting out slowly and gradually increasing your wear time. On day one, wear the brace for one hour, and each day going forward, double the amount of time until you reach your optimal daily wear time. For example, on the first day wear it for one hour, on the second day for two hours, on the third day for four hours, and the fourth day for eight hours. This will allow your body to more easily adapt to the new corrective pressures and improved biomechanics that are provided by the brace.
How many hours a day should the BioniCare device be worn?
Patients are instructed to use the Knee Device 6 or more hours each day. Most use the Device while asleep or relaxing at home. Research shows increased effectiveness as the daily treatment time is increased - 8 hours of daily treatment is more effective than 6 hours, and 10 hours is more effective than 8 hours. Studies show that the more the device is worn, the sooner you will see significant results. In fact, using the OActiveTM or Eagle® OA brace with BioniCare during the day and the BioniCare Night-wrap at night is the fastest way to reduce joint pain and improve overall function.
How long will my symptoms remain improved?
Results vary greatly as each patient is unique in terms of particular condition and level of activity. One study showed that total knee replacement candidates who used BioniCare for an average of 11 months, were able to avoid the surgery for at least 4 years
What are the side effects if any?
There are no serious side effects associated with the BioniCare system. However, a small percentage of patients may develop a mild rash under the Electrodes or Wrap.
How do I know if I need a total knee replacement?
Your orthopedic physician is the best person to determine if a total knee replacement is best for your particular condition. However, replacements are generally recommended when your daily activities are impaired by severe pain and other, more conservative methods have failed to reduce the pain. Replacements are not generally recommended for younger patients and may compromise those wishing to maintain more active lifestyles.
What are the risks of surgery?
As with any surgery, there are risks when undergoing anesthesia or any major surgery. The degree of risk will depend on your overall health and any other medical conditions and medications you are currently taking. The most common complications are infection which can occur at the surgical site and blood clots in the leg. However, more severe complications such as heart attacks or embolisms can occur. The exact degree of risk of these complications for you should be discussed with your physician.
What are the alternatives to total knee replacement?
Common alternatives to treating osteoarthritis include NSAIDs, pain medications, HA (hyaluronic acid) injections (which thicken the joint fluid to provide better cushion), bracing (which alters the pressure on the joint) and BioniCare. Each of these alternatives has varying degrees of effectiveness and each has unique side effects and risks.
Will my knee be “as good as new” after surgery?
For most patients, after rehabilitation a knee replacement provides significantly less pain during activity and allows a return to more normal functioning and activities of daily living. However, there may be some stiffness in the knee, kneeling may be uncomfortable, high intensity activities may need to be limited as a return to full range of motion is rare.
What causes osteoarthritis of the knee?
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage of the knee begins to wear down, causing inflammation and pain. Muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee can also be affected and provide less structural support. For some patients, this is part of the normal aging process—the body repairs itself at a slower rate and activities that were common for someone in their 20s are not likely to be continued in the 60s and 70s. However, some people develop symptoms earlier than others and these interfere with normal activities, such as walking and climbing stairs. People with a family history of osteoarthritis, those over the age of 45, females, those who are overweight or obese and those who have had a prior surgery or injury to the knee all have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis at an earlier age when it is more likely to interfere with daily functioning.
What are the treatment options for osteoarthritis?
Common options for treating osteoarthritis include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen), pain medications, HA (hyaluronic acid) injections (which thicken the joint fluid to provide better cushion), bracing (which alters the pressure on the joint), a total knee replacement (where the worn surfaces are surgically replaced) and BioniCare. Each of these alternatives has varying degrees of effectiveness and each has unique side effects and risks.