Brigham and Women’s Performed New England’s First Meniscus Implant Surgery

Just before Thanksgiving, BWH replaced a Brockton resident’s meniscus with an implant.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), long a surgical pioneer, has performed the first meniscus implant operation in New England.

Using a product called the NUsurface Meniscus Implant, BWH replaced Brockton resident Rob Price’s meniscus, which he tore and later had removed years ago. The procedure is a step forward—and source of hope—for the many, many people who suffer from knee injuries nationwide.

NUsurface, a composite implant intended to redistribute pressure and minimize stress to the knee, can be inserted without damaging bone, cartilage, or ligaments, and requires no screws or hardware to stay in place. It’s already in use in Europe, but is still awaiting FDA approval in the United States, making Price’s surgery a somewhat experimental undertaking.

Past research from BWH showed that physical therapy was, sometimes, as effective as surgery for treating meniscus injuries. But Price’s physician, Andreas Gomoll, told WCVB that advances like the NUsurface could be the beginning of a new era of knee surgeries. “It’s something that we previously had no treatment for,” Gomoll said. “If we can have this for a bridging option that will last 5, 10, 15 years, it’s a good trade off.”

Meniscus implants are only the latest in BWH’s string of cutting-edge operations. In the past, the hospital has performed face and hand transplants, and is working toward full leg transplants. In 1965, BWH also became the first institution to perform a successful organ transplant.

Interested in meniscus implant surgery? BWH and NUsurface are running an ongoing trial that’s still accepting participants. To be eligible for the study, you must be between the ages of 30 and 75, have pain after medial meniscus surgery, and have had meniscus surgery at least six months ago. To see if you qualify for the study, visit www.meniscus-trial.com.