For the first time in the U.S., surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have implanted a plastic device designed to help patients with persistent knee pain due to injured or deteriorating meniscus cartilage. The meniscus is a fibrocartilage pad located between the thigh and shin bones, and once it’s damaged has a very limited healing potential.

Dr. Christopher Kaeding performing knee surgery
“There aren’t many options for these patients, unfortunately.  Once the meniscus is damaged, pain often sets in and can lead to arthritis and the need for knee replacement surgery,” says Christopher Kaeding, MD, the surgeon who implanted the device and executive director of OSU Sports Medicine (pictured left).  “If this meniscal implant works as well as we think it will, it fills a gap in our treatment for those with meniscus injuries.”  

In an effort to gain regulatory approval, the NUsurface Meniscus  Implant is currently in an FDA-approved multi-center, randomized, control trial comparing it to the current standard-of-care for patients with persistent knee pain following meniscus surgery.

The procedure begins with routine arthroscopic preparation of the meniscus, followed by implantation of the plastic meniscus through a small incision. Progressively, the implant will form a customized fit to the patient’s knee contour. 

After this procedure, patients no longer need prolonged protected weight bearing or braces. They can wean themselves off crutches when they’re comfortable and progress to normal activities when tolerable.

Currently, an estimated 720,000 patients undergo knee replacement surgery yearly. However, that number is expected to skyrocket to 3.5 million cases by 2030, an increase of nearly 400 percent.

NUsurface system implant“We’re hoping this implant can not only alleviate the pain in these patients, but help them delay or avoid a knee replacement surgery altogether,” Kaeding says.

The NUsurface Meniscus Implant (pictured right) is made by Active Implants LLC, the technology leader in cushion bearing orthopaedics. 

 Learn more about this study

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