Utah Surgeon Performs 1st Artificial Meniscus Transplant in Utah

Artificial meniscus transplant surgery is a revolutionary treatment developed to help patients who still suffer persistent knee pain following meniscus surgery.

Artificial Meniscus Transplant

Over 1 million procedures to remove or repair a torn meniscus are performed each year across the country. Unfortunately for many patients, these surgeries don’t significantly decrease pain or restore function. And, if the meniscus is too badly damaged, arthritis can develop, often requiring the patient to undergo knee replacement surgery.

In response to this growing need, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center recently joined with the SUN trial to clinically test the safety and effectiveness of the NUsurface® Meniscus Implant.

Dr. Andrew Cooper, an orthopedic surgeon at Comprehensive Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, recently performed the first artificial meniscus replacement surgery in Utah.

About the Meniscus Transplant Procedure

Surgery to install the NUsurface® implant is arthroscopically assisted. Consequently, only a small incision is necessary. Depending upon medical needs, some patients may require an overnight in the hospital after the procedure. In most cases, however, this surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis.

The first artificial meniscus implant surgery in Utah was performed in May on a 55-year-old Uintah, Utah, resident.

The recipient, Kent Carlson, had suffered knee problems since childhood. Cortisone shots, meniscus surgery and other treatments failed to restore mobility and provide relief from pain and swelling. Once the knee has fully healed, the NUsurface® implant is expected to help alleviate Carlson’s pain and hopefully help him avoid knee replacement surgery.

Artificial Meniscus Transplant Surgery Prognosis

The NUsurface® implant is new to the United States.

Currently, this procedure is undergoing clinical trials to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But this surgical procedure has already been extensively tested in other countries.

In fact, the procedure — using the same implants — has been successfully used in Europe since 2008, and in Israel since 2011.

Several key factors contribute to the success of any patient’s meniscus transplant surgery. The condition of the knee plays a part. Also, the implant must be properly sized and placed. For proper healing, the patient must be committed to a six-week course of rehabilitation.

Patients participating in the clinical trial also must continue orthopedic surgeon visits periodically over the five years following surgery to track the procedure’s long-term outcome.

Are You a Candidate for Artificial Meniscus Transplant Surgery?

The SUN trial is admitting approximately 120 patients to the clinical trial.

Treatments may be covered by Medicare and some private insurance companies. You may be eligible if you are between 30 and 75 years old and have persistent knee pain, but only if you had meniscus surgery more than six months ago.

Dr. Cooper and his team can determine whether you would be a good candidate for this trial. Contact the Salt Lake City office of Steward Health Care: Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today to schedule a consultation to learn more about the artificial meniscus transplant procedure.