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New Data Reveals That Total Knee Replacement Can be Deferred Using Biologic and Bionic Meniscus Replacement Procedures

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- This week at American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in San Francisco, a group of renowned orthopedic surgeons from around the world gathered to discuss the latest findings for meniscus transplantations.  New data on knee joint cartilage and meniscus transplantation presented at the 27th annual Meniscus Transplantation Study Group revealed that the meniscus tissue can be successfully replaced by tissue replacements such as cadaveric allografts, using artificial materials such as polyurethane scaffolds, and using polycarbonate-urethane implants. These advances bode well for all those who have developed knee pain or arthritis and want to avoid a total knee replacement.

The meniscus cartilage is the key shock absorber in the knee joint, and when injured, it is often removed. Loss of this critical structure often leads to joint pain and arthritis. Of the 1.4 million knee surgeries occurring in the United States each year, 98% of them result in the removal of meniscus tissue.

Eight investigators from five different countries presented on the science of meniscus replacement. From the United States, Kevin R. Stone, MD of the Meniscus Transplant Center at The Stone Clinic in San Francisco presented the largest and longest study of meniscus transplantation. The study spanned 16 years of data with approximately 80% success at improving patient pain and function in both pristine and arthritic knees. Many patients were able to return to a wide range of sporting activities after undergoing meniscus transplantation.

Mathew T. Provencher, MD, MC, USN of the US Navy presented data on the biomechanical changes in the knee for soldiers with a new meniscus and an osteotomy realignment procedure. The soldiers' pain was diminished and some were able to return to active duty.

Peter Verdonk, MD of Belgium unveiled a novel artificial meniscus implant made from polycarbonate-urethane. The implant is meant for patients who have a missing meniscus and knee pain, but whose knees are otherwise healthy. The data is preliminary but represents a new bionic approach to cartilage replacement. Dr. Verdonk also described the successes and failures of an artificial scaffold designed to regrow tissue called Actifit. The complication rate is still too high at 20%, but improvements are planned.

The global nature of cartilage loss and arthritis is being addressed and today offers young and old patient solutions that can be performed without removing bone or opening the joint, and permits return to sports.


SOURCE Meniscus Transplant Center
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