The Stone Clinic, San Francisco, reports that it has recently implanted the first commercially available meniscus templates in California,opening up a new field of meniscus reconstruction. The implant permits segmental rebuilding of portions damaged or missing meniscus cartilage, the fibrous shock absorber of the knee, says the [removed]statement[/removed] from Stone.

To date physicians have only been able to remove, suture repair, or replace the whole meniscus with cadaver tissue; there was no method of rebuilding or regenerating missing and torn segments,  says the statement. Torn meniscus cartilage leads to more than 1.4 million knee arthroscopies each year in the United States alone, says Stone, adding that most commonly, surgeons just remove the damaged tissue, leaving the knee exposed to wear-and-tear arthritis.The new medical procedure—collagen meniscus implant—literally allows meniscus cartilage in the knee to regrow, according to thte statement.

The patients who received the first implants—a woman in her 60s, who hurt her knee ballroom dancing; a 46-year-old chiropractor, who hurt his knee weightlifting; and a 26-year-old male who hurt his knee surfing—were able to resume physical therapy on day one after surgery, says the statement.

Kevin R. Stone, MD, who heads the clinic, said in the statement that the new implant is similar to a rose trellis, acting as a guide for the new tissue growth. The implant temporarily replaces the damaged meniscus and literally becomes part of the body, he said, adding that there are no artificial devices. The collagen implant is a temporary template and serves as a scaffold for tissue regrowth, he said.

Stone said that many patients with healthy knees, who are missing a portion of their meniscus, will benefit from a segmental regrowth. The device is the only one engineered for patients missing meniscus tissue, and it is also a great augmentation device for difficult-to-repair meniscus tears, such as bucket-handle tears and horizontal cleavage tears with missing volume, he added.

This new implant, which Stone calls a "regeneration template," was invented by him in 1986 and used in his first human patient trial in 1990, but then took a lengthy course through the FDA, says the statement. The implant marketed by ReGen Biologics Inc and called Menaflex, received recent press for the way the FDA handled the approval process, the statement says.

Athletes and people with arthritis visit the clinic for ligament, articular cartilage and meniscus repair, regeneration, and replacement, says the statement. 

[Source: [removed]Stone Clinic[/removed]]