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MU Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory Successfully Tests "Plumbing" Procedure to Repair Previously Unhealable Knee Tears

MU Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory Successfully Tests "Plumbing" Procedure to Repair Previously Unhealable Knee TearsOf 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 partial healing.

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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Last Update: February 29, 2012