Groundbreaking knee surgery available in Richmond

Published: Mar. 7, 2016 at 2:07 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2016 at 9:44 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A groundbreaking new medical treatment for a common knee injury is underway in Richmond.

A meniscus tear is the most common knee injury, often seen in the football world, but so many of you are dealing with knee pain because of an old injury like this. Now, a new procedure could help ease that pain.

Dan DeMartine may be one of the most active people you'll ever meet. The 54-year-old Toana resident rides motorcycles, golfs, bikes, and loves karate and martial arts, but he says there's one activity that trumps of all it: chasing around his 6-year-old twins. When an old Kickboxing injury started causing intolerable pain, DeMartine knew he needed serious help.

"At the beginning of January 2015 it got to a point where I really had to stop activities," said DeMartine.

He went to a knee surgeon in Williamsburg who ultimately sent him to Advanced Orthopaedics in Richmond where DeMartine was a candidate for a total meniscus replacement as part of a clinical study.

"The meniscus is one of the most common things we see torn. The meniscus is this little c-shaped shock absorber. It sits between the thigh bone and the shin bone," said Dr. Kenneth Zaslav.

Advanced Orthopaedics is just one of ten sites nationwide participating in the VENUS trial for the NuSurface Meniscus Implant, an investigational implant to treat persistent knee pain caused by injured or deteriorating meniscus cartilage. The device is made of medical grade plastic and inserted into the knee through a small incision.

"This is not instead of a knee replacement, but there are people that have to live with pain until their knee gets bad enough for a knee replacement," said Zaslav. "We're just very excited that we have new opportunities to offer people ways to stay active and be in less pain well into their later adulthood."

He adds that the NuSurface device being tested in the U.S. "has been used in Europe now and Israel for over 150 cases and they have some cases as far out as seven years."

As of our interview with Dr. Zaslav in February, ten of these replacements had been done in the US. DeMartine was the first patient in Virginia. DeMartine had the surgery in October and was able to walk around the same day, though slowly. He's almost done with rehabilitation.

"I mean it's almost four months now. It puts off, and hopefully eliminates, the need for a partial or full knee replacement later on and it's nice to keep intact as much of your knee as possible," added DeMartine. He will soon be cleared to enjoy many of the activities he loves, but most of all his smile is because he's able to chase around his twins again.

"For a while there they were  going everywhere and I couldn't keep up. Now, I can at least move after them and keep up."

To be a candidate for this clinical trial you must be between 30 and 75 years old and still in pain after your original meniscus surgery. To find out if you are eligible call 1-844-680-8953. You can also log onto

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