Entries in Knee Surgery (3)


Cat’s New Knee an Ortho-PET-ic Innovation

Comstock/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- A photogenic 20-pound orange tabby was resting comfortably in an intensive care unit on Saturday following pioneering replacement of a cancer-weakened knee by veterinary surgeons at North Carolina State University whose work could advance the field of human prosthetics.

Veterinarians were monitoring the recuperation of Cyrano, a 10-year-old cat, “and if things continue to go well, he could go home in the next few days,” said university spokesperson Tracey Peake. The School of Veterinary Medicine has been providing periodic updates on a blog.

Cyrano got a new lease on life thanks to top-tier veterinary care. He underwent life-saving chemotherapy and radiation for bone cancer at Colorado State University in 2010. However, while the thousands of dollars of treatments put Cyrano in remission, the combined ravages of his disease and treatment side effects left him with bone deterioration in his back leg and knee, causing pain and restricting his movements.

On Thursday, a 10-member surgical team led by Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little, an orthopedic surgeon at NCSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, N.C., spent hours giving Cyrano a customized implant designed and created during six months of collaborative work among U.S. and German veterinarians and engineers. They fashioned the implant, about the size of a tube of lip balm, from cobalt chromium and plastic.

Marcellin-Little has described the implant as being “as good as the implants used in human knee replacements.”

The high-tech operation allowed Cyrano to escape amputation, the goal sought by his owner, Sandy Lerner, a founder of Cisco Systems, and owner of a farm in northern Virginia. Marcellin-Little and his fellow implant developers hope Cyrano’s surgery will help make the procedure more available and affordable for other pets.

Marcellin and engineering professor Ola Harryson couldn’t put a figure on the total cost of Cyrano’s experimental surgery, because 14 people and several companies donated time and materials for the research. However, Lerner paid $20,000 of the total cost, Peake said.

The collaboration has implications for artificial limbs to help “people who have lost limbs to disease, accidents, or combat,” said Dave Green, the top spokesman for NCSU’s veterinary school.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Surge in Total Knee Replacements for Boomer Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Gone are the days of 50-something women who define their new decade by staying home and joining a book club or two. These women are more likely to be found moving and shaking at the gym, on the dance floor or trekking on some adventure abroad.

The baby boomer generation has truly coined 50 as the new 30. The generation is the most active of any other in the same age group has ever been. But unfortunately, their joints haven't caught on to their mantra.

Active lifestyles mean achy joints, which have led baby boomers to become the fastest-growing group to undergo total knee replacements.

Knee replacement surgeries have doubled over the past decade, and more than tripled in the women between the ages of 45 and 64.

Women seem to be more affected than men. In 2009, nearly 63 percent of women underwent total knee replacement surgery, most of whom were between ages of 40 and 80, according to Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Nearly 37 percent of men, mostly within the same age group, underwent total knee replacement surgery in 2009.

Dr. Nick DiNubile, clinical assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, said just a decade ago most of his patients needing knee replacements were age 70 or older. But now, a majority of his patients are much younger.

Medications are the first line treatment for knee joints that are seriously damaged by arthritis or injury. But when it becomes difficult to walk or climb stairs, and the pain is unbearable both during activity and at rest, some specialists may suggest surgery.

Many women overuse their joints and wait longer to go to the doctor, which could be leading to the spike in surgeries, DiNubile said.

During the procedure, surgeons remove the damaged cartilage surrounding the knee along with parts of the underlying bone. They are replaced by metal that's fit into the bone and a spacer is fit in between to the bone's surface to create a gliding surface. But surgery is no quick fix.

More than 90 percent of people who undergo total knee replacement experience a dramatic reduction in pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

But it's difficult to return to the strenuous physical activities. Like other artificial implants, the plastic spacers can wear with daily use, and overuse, and putting a lot of weight on the knee can speed up that process.

Most surgeons advise against high-impact activities, such as running, jogging, jumping, and high-impact sports for the rest of one's life after surgery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stem Cells: Alternative to Knee Replacement?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Last year, Patricia Beals was told she'd need a double knee replacement to repair her severely arthritic knees or she'd probably spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Hoping to avoid surgery, Beals, 72, opted instead for an experimental treatment that involved harvesting bone marrow stem cells from her hip, concentrating the cells in a centrifuge and injecting them back into her damaged joints.

"Almost from the moment I got up from the table, I was able to throw away my cane," Beals says. "Now I'm biking and hiking like a 30-year-old."

A handful of doctors around the country are administering treatments like the one Beals received to stop or even reverse the ravages of osteoarthritis. Stem cells are the only cells in the body able to morph into other types of specialized cells. When the patient's own stem cells are injected into a damaged joint, they appear to transform into chondrocytes, the cells that go on to produce fresh cartilage. They also seem to amplify the body's own natural repair efforts by accelerating healing, reducing inflammation, and preventing scarring and loss of function.

Christopher J. Centeno, M.D., the rehab medicine specialist who performed Beals' procedure, says the results he sees from stem cell therapy are remarkable. Of the more-than-200 patients his Bloomfield, Colo., clinic treated over a two-year period, he says, "two thirds of them reported greater than 50 percent relief and about 40 percent reported more than 75 percent relief one to two years afterward."

According to Centeno, knees respond better to the treatment than hips. Only eight percent of his knee patients opted for a total knee replacement two years after receiving a stem cell injection. The complete results from his clinical observations will be published in a major orthopedic journal later this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio