After years of pain and several surgeries, Donald Pitre knew it was finally time for a more permanent surgical solution for the arthritis in his knee. The pain in his left knee, caused by years of playing basketball in his youth followed by years of working on his feet, was unrelenting and limited his activities. He knew he needed a new knee, but he worried about the outcome. The 46-year-old aircraft mechanic wasn’t ready to undergo a total knee replacement.
“The pain was constant, but I was worried about having a total knee replacement at my age,” Pitre said. “I was worried I still might not be able to do all the things I needed to do. I also wondered how long it would last. I was very happy when Dr. Drez, who had been my doctor for years, told me he had a new option he felt was the perfect fit for me. At the time, I just didn’t realize he meant the part about the ‘perfect fit’ literally.”
Dr. David Drez Jr., is an orthopaedic surgeon with Center for Orthopaedics. Knee surgery is his specialty and he says although partial knee replacements have been available for some time, new technology from ConforMIS, Inc., has become his preference for patients suffering from some arthritic problems of the knee. The reason? Custom fit technology that provides patient-specific knee implants.
“27 million people in the United States have osteoarthritis in their knee,” says Dr. Drez. “This disease changes the internal anatomy of the knee in a variety of ways, but it doesn’t change it identically in every person. Other partial replacements help, but they are not customized for a specific patient. What works better is creating a customized implant that is made to conform to a patient’s unique anatomy, which results in a much more natural fit.”
ConforMIS implants are developed using a unique computer modeling system and software to extract an individual’s information from digital CT images. This information is then used to create patient-specific implants precisely sized and shaped to match the 3D topography of the patient’s knee anatomy. Dr. Drez says the customization provides multiple benefits, including a less-invasive procedure, decreased surgical time, shorter hospital stay, less post-operative pain, faster recovery and more natural movement.
Five months after his surgery, Pitre couldn’t be more pleased with his results. “I was back on my feet in no time, and my knee was pain-free for the first time in about 20 years,” he says. “It’s also very reassuring to know that the implant in my knee was personalized just for me. You can’t ask for much more than that. I feel like I have my life back!”
Dr. Drez says the ConforMIS implant is not an option for everyone. “Ideal candidates are those who have arthritis confined to just one compartment of the knee.”