Oceanside, NY, June 07, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- Long Islanders suffering from chronic achy knees that have not responded to ibuprofen, injections such as Synvisc®, arthroscopic surgery, bracing or physical therapy may be candidates for an innovative solution offered by orthopedic surgeons at South Nassau Communities Hospital.
The solution, Subchondroplasty® (sub-con-drō-plas-tee, and also referred to as SCP), is a minimally invasive surgery that allows orthopedic surgeons Bradley Gerber, MD, chief of joint replacement surgery; Craig Levitz, MD, chair of orthopedic surgery, and James Germano, MD, to access and treat bone defects associated with chronic bone marrow lesions (BMLs).
South Nassau’s Center for Advanced Orthopedics was the first on Long Island to offer and perform SCP. Dr. Gerber is a pioneer of SCP in the U.S. and is involved in research and training surgeons nationwide on the procedure. Subchondroplasty comes from “sub,” meaning “below” and the Greek word “chondros,” meaning “cartilage.”
Defined by radiologists as “bone marrow edema,” a BML is swelling in the soft bone just underneath the joint’s surface, producing chronic pain and reduced mobility. BML, most easily detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is identified by inflammation surrounding a microscopic insufficiency fracture within the subchondral bone.
BMLs will not heal without treatment, and ultimately lead to severe osteoarthritis and the need for total knee replacements. More than 600,000 total knee replacements were performed in 2011. “Subchondroplasty is a much simpler and less expensive corrective and preventive surgery that will delay or in some cases even eliminate the need for knee replacement surgery,” said Dr. Gerber.
The procedure involves putting the patient under general anesthesia and then making a total of three incisions in the knee. Imaging and a special device help pinpoint exactly where the damage is located. A needle is then inserted and a small amount of calcium phosphate (also referred to as a biomimetic bone substitute material, BSM) is injected into the damaged area.
Depending on the number of BMLs, the operation takes an average of 30 to 45 minutes. The BSM takes about 30 minutes to dry and harden. If not combined with another procedure, most patients can walk out of the hospital under their own power after the surgery. Typical post-operative recovery time is six weeks (as compared to four to six months for a knee replacement).
Drs. Gerber, Germano and Levitz are among the more than 200 other physicians in the US who specialize in subchondroplasty. To date, more than 1,200 procedures have been performed in the US.