New Medical Device May Eliminate Need for Some Knee Replacement Surgery

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Surgeons say the Calypso device can help relieve pain for people with osteoarthritis in their inner knee region.
Surgeons implanted the Calypso medical device into the knee of a retired firefighter last month. Photo courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
There may be some help coming for the estimated 31 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis.
A new device may offer relief from knee pain without replacement surgery.
Surgeons at The Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center say they have just completed the first successful implant of the Calypso Knee System, a shock absorber that protects the knee, relieves pressure, and acts as a cushion similar to way the cartilage functions in a healthy joint.
Dr. David Flanigan, an orthopedic surgeon and director of the Cartilage Restoration Program at OSU, said the Calypso was designed to relieve knee pain and to help patients with osteoarthritis delay or avoid the need for knee replacement surgery.
More than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed in the United States every year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Nearly half of American adults develop osteoarthritis in at least one knee during their lifetime.
Chuck Stenger, 58, a retired firefighter, was the first patient in Flanigan’s clinical trial to receive the Calypso.
“We’re always looking for new and alternative solutions to help the mild to moderately arthritic patient who is not ready to have a partial or total knee replacement,” Flanigan told Healthline. “Chuck had used conservative measures like therapy, injections, and anti-inflammatories, but they failed.”
“He was looking for ways to alleviate his pain but was not ready for a partial or full knee replacement, which is a structurally altering procedure. Chuck met the clinical trial participation criteria, making him a good fit for this trial,” Flanigan noted.
For the trial, Flanigan is seeking patients who have mild to moderate osteoarthritis in their medial (inner) knee. Stenger met the trial requirements and had surgery on December 19.
“A complete recovery can take anywhere from four to six months,” Flanigan said. “Physical therapy can progress for the entire duration of recovery but is more intensive early to help patients regain motion. The program is tailored to help patients get back to full functionality and to their daily activities.”
clinical symptoms such as pain localized primarily to the inner area of the study knee and generally exacerbated by weight bearing
failure of at least six months of nonoperative treatment
The Calypso, developed by Moximed, Inc. of Hayward, California, is designed to provide support outside of the knee joint without altering the anatomy or removing any tissue from the knee itself.
Calypso treats osteoarthritis in the inner knee, the most commonly affected area.
“I first experienced knee pain about five years ago while working for the fire department, but was actually diagnosed last June,” Stenger told Healthline.
Stenger learned about Flanigan’s trial when he noticed an online survey on knee pain on his Facebook news feed. He took the survey.
Stenger was contacted by the manufacturer’s representative, did a phone interview with the Wexner Medical Center, and was invited to Wexner’s Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute. There, he was interviewed again, examined, X-rayed, and given an MRI.
“Recovery is going great,” Stenger said. “I was walking without crutches on the first day after surgery, but only in the house and for a short distance at a time.”
Flanigan said the inner knee is the most common area to develop arthritis.
“It has to do with the mechanics of the knee and the way your knee wears and ages,” he explained.