Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory Successfully Tests "Plumbing"
Procedure to Repair Previously Unhealable Knee Tears
the 800,000 surgeries performed each year to repair damage to
the meniscus in the human knee, about one-third involve removing
tissue that has
been torn. These tears, in the central portion of the meniscus,
cannot be treated by conventional means. The damaged portion
is removed to prevent further tearing.
A new procedure has been successfully tested
at the MU Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory that may be
able to repair these tears, allowing people to regain full
use of their knees.
The procedure involves installing a medical
tube from an adjacent area rich in blood to the center part
of the meniscus that has no blood supply of its own. The blood
helps the torn meniscus to repair itself.
Orthopedic surgeons for decades have been
trying to repair tears in this part of the meniscus without
success. The initial testing was performed on 24 dogs with
such meniscal tears. Of them, 80 percent showed full healing
at 12 weeks after surgery. The remaining 20 percent showed
The idea tested at MU came from Herb Schwartz,
president and CEO of Schwartz Biomedical LLC, a new Ft. Wayne,
Ind. company. The company partners with other orthopedics
operations to research, test, and bring to market new ideas
for medical procedures.
FDA approval of the new procedure could
come in early 2007.
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