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    WBAMC employs state-of-the-art knee implant for first time in DoD

    WBAMC employs state-of-the-art knee implant for first time in DoD

    Photo By Marcy Sanchez | (From left) Maj. E’Stephan Garcia, orthopaedic sports medicine surgeon, William...... read more read more



    Story by Marcy Sanchez 

    William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

    A new Food and Drug Administration-approved implant was utilized for the first time in the Department of Defense at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Feb. 9.

    The implant, a membrane with autologous cultured chondrocytes (healthy cartilage cells), is used for the repair of cartilage defects of the knee and provides surgeons a less invasive approach in treating knee problems requiring surgery.

    “The implant is for patients who have cartilage defects, like holes in the cartilage of the knee,” said Col. Mark Pallis, chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, WBAMC. “We can take some of the cartilage from the knee, harvest it, culture the chondrocytes and put them back in the knee (while attached to the membrane).”

    The device, which is cut to size, differs from previous approaches to knee surgery such as the Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI), which utilizes liquid chondrocytes under a sutured membrane, requiring longer surgery times.

    “We had a three-hour case and turned it into less than a two-hour case,” said Maj. E’Stephan Garcia, sports medicine surgeon, WBAMC.

    “Rather than sending liquid cultured chondrocytes to implant under a sewn-in membrane, the cells are already integrated into the membrane which simplifies the surgery procedure,” said Garcia. “The membrane is then implanted in the area where the damaged cartilage was removed and then sealed with glue.”

    While the principle of the procedure is similar to previous operations, the versatility of the implant has broadened capabilities for surgeons and reduced the impact on the patient.

    “Before (the new implant) we had to rotate the knee cap perfectly upright, so the liquid chondrocytes would not spill,” said Garcia, a native of Ault, Colorado. “Now we can use a smaller incision and turn the knee just enough to remove the defect and place the membrane.”

    Another benefit for patients the new procedure offers is another option to total or partial knee replacement for treatment of certain defects in the knee. Older procedures were only FDA-approved for specific parts of the knee, leaving gaps in treatment options for surgeons.

    “Patellofemoral cartilage (kneecap) injuries are very common in our patient population, just because of the activities our Soldiers engage in. It’s very hard on the joint, so we commonly see these injuries,” said Pallis, a native of Branchville, New Jersey. “It’s something we don’t have a lot of options for, a very complex injury to deal with. (The new implant) gives us a very important means of taking care of patients who may not have had another good option before.”

    The new implant also decreases the growth cycle of the chondrocytes from six to three weeks, meaning an increase in readiness for the patients’ unit, as the patient may undergo surgery faster and start recovering sooner.

    “That’s almost a month sooner getting back to duty,” said Garcia. “Soldiers can start their rehab and recovery a month sooner than before.

    “This is an additional tool that existed in a previous format but is much simpler to perform now,” said Garcia. “It’s the best we have to offer our Soldiers.”



    Date Taken: 02.17.2017
    Date Posted: 02.17.2017 11:14
    Story ID: 223965
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US 
    Hometown: AULT, CO, US
    Hometown: BRANCHVILLE, NJ, US

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