The recipient of the implant was 55-year-old Uintah resident Kent Carlson, who has experienced meniscus-related problems since he was a child as a result of skiing injuries. He underwent a meniscectomy and has been getting cortisone shots, but the pain has persisted to the point where sitting for long periods or bearing weight are uncomfortable. Even low-impact exercises like swimming and cycling can cause his knee to swell.
The meniscus is a tissue pad between the thigh and shin bones. Once damaged, the meniscus has a very limited ability to heal. Over 1 million partial meniscectomies to remove or repair a torn meniscus are performed in the U.S. every year, about the same as the total number of hip and knee replacement surgeries combined. However, many patients still experience persistent knee pain following meniscus surgery.
“There aren’t many options for patients like Kent, who experienced persistent knee pain following meniscus surgery,” said Dr. Andrew Cooper, orthopedic surgeon at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. “Damage to the meniscus can lead to arthritis and the need for knee replacement surgery. We hope the NUsurface implant alleviates pain in these patients, as well as helps them delay or avoid knee replacement surgery.”
The NUsurface Meniscus Implant is inserted into the knee joint through a small incision and patients typically can go home soon after the operation. After surgery, they undergo a six-week rehabilitation program. The NUsurface Meniscus Implant has been used in Europe under CE Mark since 2008 and Israel since 2011.
An avid outdoorsman, Carlson is looking forward to getting back into the wild once he recovers from the NUsurface surgery. “I love to hunt, fish and hike,” Carlson said. “I can’t wait to put on a pack and get back out there.”
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