Breakthrough knee procedure introduced in Lincoln

Posted by: Laura Wilson

LINCOLN–A new customized total knee implant is changing the way orthopedic surgeons replace their patient’s knees.

"It’s the only custom, total knee that is out there.  They do a 3D reconstruction using a CT scan and then make a custom implant that fits each individual patient," said Dr. Scott Bigelow, a surgeon at Lincoln Orthopaedic Center.

More than 700,000 Americans have knee replacement surgeries every year.

The alternative is choosing a pre-molded replacement that best matches the size of the patient’s knee.

Some clinical studies suggest CONFORMIS implants cause less pain for their patients and a slightly quicker recovery.

Dr. Scott Bigelow is among the first surgeons in the country to perform the landmark procedure.

"It’s going to be a lot easier to heal, I think, and get acclimated to the knee,” said patient Richard Waterworth.

Dr. Bigelow says he’s used CONFORMIS implants for more than 30 patients since last March—including Waterworth, who prolonged his knee replacement surgery several years, until the technology was made available in Nebraska.

"I saw that they were talking about 20% less bone loss and 20% less blood loss.  I just thought if I could something custom and not have those extra losses, and have less pain, that it would be better.  I feel great, I wasn’t using a cane or any assistance after two weeks,” Waterworth explained.

The breakthrough in technology isn’t expected to break the bank, though, for insured patients—according to Dr. Bigelow.

He says the cost to make either type of implant is essentially the same.