New hope for patients with meniscus knee injuries

Wednesday 23 July 2008
Petro Bosman, Die Burger

Now there is new hope for patients who have injured the meniscus in their knee or who have previously had a menisectomy.

According to Dr Ockie van Zyl, an orthopod at the Panorama Medi-Clinic in Panorama, the first Collagen Meniscus Implants were performed early this year at this private hospital. Before only human meniscus, obtained from a tissue donor bank in Pretoria were available for implants.

Dr Van Zyl explained that a surgeon in Colorado, America began performing the first Collagen Meniscus Implant surgery in 2003 and Van Zyl attended a congress where he learnt how to perform the technique.

“Injury of the meniscus is the most common knee injury, especially amongst the sporting community,” he explains. (Van Zyl was drawn to specialisation in orthoapedics because of his own love for sport.) “A knee that has separated from the meniscus become unstable and painful with time. Osteoarthritis can be accelerated after a menisectomy and this operation can retard that. Using key-hole surgery, the procedure takes about an hour and the patient stays overnight in hospital. After the surgery the patient spends 6 weeks in a knee brace and using crutches and then needs to participate in rehabilitation for around 3 months.”

Van Zyl said that the operation can serve as a buffer between the femur and the tibia for patients who are in the early stages of arthritis.

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