New procedure repairs torn knee cartilage faster

October 17th, 2010 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 17 (IANS) A newly-developed procedure to repair torn knee cartilage can significantly reduce the recuperating time for patients, who face months of painful rehabilitation after surgery.

The Ultra Fast-Fix Meniscal Repair Device allows a torn cartilage to be stitched back into place, instead of the normal procedure of cutting away damaged tissue, which takes months to heal, reports the Daily Mail.

Although the conventional method was able to heal joint pain, patients were 15 times more likely to develop arthritis later in life.

The new procedure, using general anaesthetic, allows patients to go home after a half-hour operation. About 90 percent of patients made a full recovery using the procedure.

Cartilage is a tough tissue, found throughout the body, which acts as a shock absorber. They become brittle with age, and can tear as a result of any sudden twisting motion. They also have a poor blood supply, which means damages rarely heal.

“Until relatively recently, tears in the knee had to be trimmed or chopped out - leaving the knee with a reduced or even no shock-absorber. Thankfully, we now have another option,” said Ian McDermott, a knee surgeon at London Sports Orthopaedics.

The new device places tiny stitches into the cartilage to close up and hold the tear together. Two cuts are made in the front of the knee, and a keyhole camera and probes are inserted into the joint.

The device is then loaded onto a small needle and has two anchors with a suture attached to each. The needle is inserted through the cartilage below and above the tear, securing the anchors in place on either side.

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