Massachusetts resident Rob Price has something extra to be thankful for this holiday. Just before Thanksgiving, Brigham & Women’s (BWH) performed the first meniscus implant operation in New England on Price. So cool! This could truly unlock possibilities to revolutionize the management of knee dysfunction and injury.
The surgery utilized NUsurface, a composite medial meniscus implant. According to the product’s website, the implant is designed to distribute articular pressure and absorb joint stresses through the knee. NUsurface is awaiting FDA approval for use in the United States; however clinical trials are currently being conducted in the U.S., Europe and Israel.
Although the exact incidence and prevalence of meniscus injury is unknown, it is common among active adults after which the standard of care includes physical therapy and/or surgery (repair or removal). There have been many studies done that suggest that physical therapy is as effective as surgery for the management of meniscal injuries – that is, under current surgical techniques. But given the link between meniscal loss and impaired knee function, including occurrence of osteoarthritic changes, this experimental surgical technique could provide hope for many.
Barber, F. (2012). Meniscal treatment options: The present and future. Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/sportsmedarthro/Fulltext/2012/06000/Meniscal_Treatment_Options___The_Present_and.1.aspx
Ducharme, J. (2015, Dec 2). Brigham and Women’s performed New England’s first meniscus implant surgery. Boston. Retrieved from http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2015/12/02/meniscus-implant/.