Back to home April 2014
New Knee Implant Allows Patients to Keep Crucial Ligament
“The point of the surgery is to maintain as much of the natural knee as possible,” Dr. Humbert says.
For patients who need knee replacement surgery, gaining the ability to move better means the loss of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Physicians have to cut the ligament to get the new knee into place.
Orthopedic surgeon Edward Humbert, D.O., is among a handful of physicians in the world who is working with a new knee design—one that preserves the ACL.
“Inserting this artificial joint into the knee is technically more challenging,” Dr. Humbert says. “But when it’s done correctly, it feels like a natural knee.”
The point of the surgery is to maintain as much of the natural knee as possible, Dr. Humbert says. “This is a stable knee,” he says. “Is it better than the knee replacements now, where we cut the ACL? Whether it’s better or not is hard to predict.”
Two main advantages to the new design are stability and proprioception—awareness of equilibrium. “This knee feels as good as it possibly can,” Dr. Humbert says. “Even so, when I explain it to many patients, because the style of knee we’ve done for years still works very well, they do not want to risk a new design.”
Dr. Humbert has implanted the new knee in several patients who have had success in their recovery. “The major advantage to this new design is that it maximizes stability by maintaining the ACL and should mechanically function like the natural knee—unlike all other total knee designs,” he says. “It’s FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approved but needs some longer follow- up to determine which patients would benefit most with new ACL-sparing total knee.”
Dr. Humbert implanted the new design in Shirley Alling’s right knee earlier this year. The Pine Island resident had been living with severe pain for more than a year. “My big question going into surgery was, ‘Can I over exercise this knee?’” Shirley says. “The answer was, ‘Absolutely not.’”
Just a few weeks after she completed surgery and follow- up therapy, Shirley was back to her regular activities. “It’s wonderful,” she says. “I’m walking now with no pain and no limp.”
Dr. Humbert learned the technique through extended orthopedic training that required specialized instruction and rigorous testing. He has used the knee in approximately 2-3 patients per week but visualizes a time when his patients demand more of the new design. “As more people see that this functions like a real knee and is cruciate preserving, they will ask for it.”
Value in Knee Replacement
Edward Humbert, D.O.
Joint Implant Surgeons
7331 College Parkway
Fort Myers, FL 33907