GILFORD, NH – Advanced Orthopaedic Specialists (AOS) in Gilford is proving to be at the forefront of the latest in medical advancements. Dr. Alexander Hennig was the first surgeon in New Hampshire to perform a new, minimally-invasive medical procedure known as Subchondroplasty.
Subchondroplasty is less than two years old and is used when the bone under cartilage is inflamed. It’s otherwise known as Bone Marrow Edema (BME). “It is theorized that this inflamed bone is a strong pain generator, but if we can support it through this procedure, it may have time to heal and decrease the pain and inflammation” states Dr. Hennig.
The procedure is performed through three 1 cm incisions placed around the knee. An MRI is used to locate the precise area of the BME and a needle is then inserted into the area of edema. A small amount of Calcium Phosphate is then injected into and around the area. This hardens in less than 10 minutes, becoming as strong as the surrounding bone, which provides support for the knee again. Within a few years, it gets absorbed and is replaced by the patient’s own bone. The procedure takes just 30-45 minutes and is performed as an outpatient.
Dr. Hennig performed the surgery for the first time on a patient who is an avid runner. She was experiencing pain from early arthritis and her lateral knee pain took away her ability to run anymore. With a complex knee realignment planned, it would have meant 6-8 months of recovery for this patient. Wanting to find a better solution for his patient, Dr. Hennig did some research and suggested they try the Subchondroplasty procedure instead. The patient agreed and the results have been positive.
Following surgery, she was fully weight bearing within a few days, pain free after 7-10 days, and back to running after 3 months. There are several benefits to having a Subchondroplasty. It’s a short, outpatient surgery that provides little risk and a quick recovery for the patient. In addition, this surgery can also address any meniscus or cartilage damage and is about one-fourth the cost of a knee replacement.
Dr. Hennig states, “While it is still a relatively new procedure, we have seen promising results. There are limited treatment options for the pain of early arthritis. Now we have another tool to help with this pain that can allow individuals to get back to, or continue, the active, healthy lifestyle that joint pain has kept them from living.”
Not all patients are the right candidate for Subchondroplasy. The right patient would be an active individual who has good knee function, but has pain related to early arthritis, or has MRI findings consistent with Bone Marrow Edema (BME).
Dr. Hennig is fellowship-trained in sports medicine and arthroscopy and has been practicing in the lakes region for 6 years. After a year in Boston where he served as an assistant team physician for the Boston Celtics, he moved to Gilford, where he is currently on staff as a US Ski and Snowboard Team physician and cares for multiple local high school athletic programs. More than 200 surgeons in the United States have performed the surgery to date. If you’re having issues with joint pain, contact AOS at 528-9100 or log on to www.advortho.org.