New Hope for Younger Patients with Severe Knee Pain

 A new knee implant used by orthopaedic surgeons at Harbin Clinic will allow younger people with chronic knee pain to receive replacement surgery, reducing or eliminating pain and improving mobility. The new implant has demonstrated 30-plus years of reliability in nationally supervised wear simulation.

Traditionally, orthopaedic surgeons have cautioned patients that knee implants can fail after years of use. While implants can fail at any time, knee replacements are generally expected to function for 15 or more years. A failed implant requires additional surgery to replace the failed device. For this reason, some younger patients do not have knee replacement.

“Every year, I see a growing number of younger, active adults who need to have their knees replaced so they can get back to their normal, pain-free lives,” says Harbin Clinic Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Kenneth Sands. “Unfortunately, one of the major drawbacks for these physically active patients has always been the potential that they would wear out their implant. An implant that can provide freedom from pain and good mobility for 30-plus years will allow these patients to receive this treatment.”

Knee implants consists of high-density plastic inserts positioned between two cobalt chrome metal components. Over time, the movement of the metal component sliding against the plastic insert can wear down the plastic and cause it to fail. When this happens, the implant may shift or loosen, which leads to pain and instability in the joint.

The new VERILAST Technology knee is made from OXINIUMTM Oxidized Zirconium and a highly cross-linked polyethylene. Combining these two low-friction materials significantly reduces the kind of wear that causes implants to fail. In tests simulating 45 million steps or approximately 30 years of an active adult’s life under typical conditions, the implant continued to perform.

According to Dr. Sands, “Results of laboratory wear simulation testing have not been proven to predict actual joint durability and performance in people. I am encouraged by the test results and feel confident that the implants provide longer service than traditional implants. As we use these knee replacement devices and follow patients, we will be able to measure actual performance. For younger patients with significant knee pain, this may provide an appropriate treatment,” he said.

Dr. Sands received his medical doctorate degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at State University of New York followed by a fellowship in total joint replacement at Florida Orthopaedic Institute. Dr. Sands is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons.