World’s First Artificial Meniscus Performed in Israel

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Two Israeli surgeons who have been involved with the development of the artificial meniscus in the US firm’s research and development center in Netanya, Israel performed the procedures.

Two patients in Israel have undergone the first commercial artificial meniscus (knee) surgery last week, according to a statement by Active Implants LLC, a company that develops orthopedic implant solutions on Sunday.

Two Israeli surgeons who have been involved in the last 13 years with the development of the Implant in the US firm’s research and development center in Netanya, Israel, performed the procedures. On Monday, Dr. Gabriel Agar of the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center, formerly the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in central Israel. And on Tuesday, Dr. Ron Arbel of the Ramat-Aviv Medical Center treated the first commercial patient surgery in a private clinic. Until now, the implant was only available in Israel in clinical trials.

The meniscus is a tissue pad between the thigh and shin bones. Current treatment for a damaged or torn meniscus includes pain management, physical therapy, injections, meniscal repair or transplantation techniques, or meniscectomy in which a damaged meniscus is partially or totally removed.

The implant, made out of polycarbonate urethane, a medical-grade plastic, is inserted into the knee joint through a small incision and mimics the function of the natural meniscus. Patients typically can go home, walking on the same day, soon after the operation since it requires no fixation to bone or soft tissues. The implant is now available for patients from 35 to 65 at age.

Over 2 million partial meniscectomies are performed annually worldwide in an attempt to alleviate pain; however, studies have shown that many people who get a meniscectomy continue to experience pain that impacts their quality of life and can eventually lead to knee replacement surgery. Transplant tissue is scarce and in many countries, there are waiting lists.

“After more than 10 years in clinical trials, it is an exciting time to finally be able to make the implant available to Israeli patients,” Dr. Agar said. “Continued pain after repairing meniscus tears is a very common orthopedic problem, and until now, we have not had effective treatment options.”

The NUsurface Implant was given a Breakthrough Device Designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a new program that expedites the development and reviewing of the chosen medical devices.

Active Implants LLC is privately held with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. European offices are in Haarlem, The Netherlands, with R&D facilities in Netanya, Israel.

“Filling the gap in treatment options between minimally invasive meniscus repair and total knee replacement is a large unmet need in the orthopedic market,” said Ted Davis, president and CEO of Active Implants. “The NUsurface Implant  was invented and developed in our R&D center in Israel, so for us, it is very exciting to finally bring the device to people in Israel.”

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