The Stone Clinic in San Francisco reported it implanted the first commercially available meniscus templates in California this past week, opening up a whole new field of meniscus reconstruction. The implant permits segmental rebuilding of portions damaged or missing meniscus cartilage, the fibrous shock absorber of the knee.
To date doctors have only been able to remove, suture repair or replace the whole meniscus with cadaver tissue. There was no method of rebuilding or regenerating missing and torn segments. Torn meniscus cartilage leads to more than 1.4 million knee arthroscopies each year in the U.S. alone. Most commonly, surgeons just remove the damage tissue leaving the knee exposed to wear and tear arthritis. The new medical procedure — collagen meniscus implant — literally allows meniscus cartilage in the knee to re-grow.
The patients who received the first implants — one a women in her sixties, who hurt her knee ballroom dancing, a 46-year-old chiropractor, who hurt his knee weightlifting, and a 26-year-old male who hurt his knee surfing — were able to resume physical therapy on day one after surgery.
“This new implant is similar to a rose trellis, acting as a guide for the new tissue growth,” said Kevin R. Stone MD, who heads the Stone Clinic. “The implant temporarily replaces the damaged meniscus and literally becomes part of the body. There are no artificial devices. The collagen implant is a temporary template and serves as a scaffold for tissue re-growth.”
Many patients with healthy knees, but who are missing a portion of their meniscus, will benefit from a segmental re-growth, Dr. Stone said. The device is the only one engineered for patients missing meniscus tissue. It is also a great augmentation device for difficult-to-repair meniscus tears, such as bucket-handle tears and horizontal cleavage tears with missing volume.
This new implant which Stone calls a “regeneration template” was invented by him in 1986 and used in his first human patient trial in 1990, but then took a lengthy course through the FDA. The implant marketed by ReGen Biologics Inc. and called “Menaflex” received recent press for the way the FDA handled the approval process.
Source: The Stone Clinic