Americans with knee osteoarthritis may soon have a less invasive option than knee replacement to relieve pain. Surgeons at Ohio State University Medical Center performed the first surgery in the U.S. to implant a device designed to slow the progression of the disease and extend the life of the original joint.
More than 4.7 million Americans are living with a knee replacement, according to a Mayo Clinic study. And more than 30 million American adults are living with osteoarthritis.
There’s no cure for osteoarthritis, but treatment ranges from conservative options like physical therapy to invasive -- such as knee replacement.
The new device, called the Calypso Knee System, aims to strike a balance between the two. The device works by providing support outside the knee joint without altering the anatomy of the knee itself.
Dr. David Flanigan is the orthopedic surgeon who performed the first surgery in late December 2018. He said the device is basically a shock absorber that takes pressure off the inside of the knee. It creates a cushion similar to what cartilage provides inside a healthy joint.
“If we can have a device that can be close to the joint, allowing it to offload it but then maintain everything else that’s in the joint that may be a good benefit for the patient,” Flanigan said.
If the trial is successful, Flanigan said he expects the procedure will soon become available to patients across the country.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.