New knee gives patients a leg up

May 18, 2011 8:45:55 AM PDT
If that nagging pain in your knees has turned into a full-blown dilemma, you've got company.

That same pain forces more than half a million people to undergo knee replacement surgery each year. But for decades, doctors asked younger patients to live with the pain for a few years to avoid revision surgery a decade down the road.

A little kicking, a little wading, a little swimming. Charles Thompson's workout routine used to be high-impact until a knee injury shut him down.

"Day in and day out, pain, pain, pain. I can't even explain the pain," said Thompson.

He used to play college football, but after graduation, the pain kicked in. a couple years ago, it all went downhill.

"In the last three years, I stopped going into the weight room because of pain," said Thompson.

The problem with older knee replacements: the material. This top portion is made of cobalt chrome, which is sturdy but wears down the plastic lower portion.

"You get a scratch on the metal, but then that metal, as the knee moves, starts rubbing on the plastic. It essentially becomes sandpaper, rubbing the plastic away," said David Watson, MD, Florida Orthopedic Institute.

Watson has the solution called Verilast Technology. It's a metal alloy -- oxinium -- that has the feel of a ceramic and is supported by new FDA-approved evidence. This smoother surface means less scratching and less wear. It can last 30 years, while the old chrome version -- just 15. and simulations show after three decades, the alloy has 81percent less wear than three years of the chrome.

"There's a real benefit with wear characteristics without the downside of ceramic in the knee," said Watson.

One month after surgery, Thompson hit the weights again after three full years on the sideline.

"Now, that I'm able to do the swimming and go into the weight room. I'm very happy again," said Thompson.

And while he may be sore tomorrow, the real benefit is a knee that'll last as long as he does.

The FDA cleared this new evidence for Verilast last year, and long-term studies are now under way.


Smith & Nephew Verilast Technology
(866) 867-6040

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