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Weirton Medical Center First in Region To Offer New Custom Knee Replacement

September 28, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WEIRTON - Weirton Medical Center is the first hospital in the Ohio Valley to offer patients who need total knee replacements custom-designed implants that fit the precise specifications of their own knees.

Designed by New Jersey-based Stryker Orthopaedics, its Triathalon ShapeMatch system uses advanced 3D imaging software to develop a customized pre-operative surgical plan for each patient. Upon surgeon review and approval, this plan is used to develop cutting guides based on the precise dimensions of his or her knee shown by an MRI or CT Scan.

The Triathalon System is designed to provide patients more natural motion and the potential for greater implant longevity. A study has shown that the implant enables a more rapid return to functional activities after surgery. The system uses what Stryker calls Advanced Bearing Technology, which based on laboratory testing, has demonstrated a lower wear rate, resulting in a longer lasting implant, making this technology particularly important for younger patients.

"After the patient has had a CT scan, we send the results to Stryker, and the company will produce a precise mold of the patient's knee for an accurate fit," said Dr. Gurdev Purewal, an orthopedic surgeon at Weirton Medical Center. "This procedure is less invasive and more comfortable for the patient, who will most often make a faster recovery than from other replacement procedures."

Purewal, who has been performing knee replacements since 1967, served his residency at the Royal Orthopedic Hospital in Birmingham, England, and has extensive experience in a wide spectrum of joint replacements. "Among the replacement improvements I have seen over the years, the Stryker system has the potential to help surgeons make a major shift in the way we perform total knee replacements," he said.

"Exact alignment to the three axes of movement is the key to the custom knee implant that provides a better fit and enhanced range of motion," said Dr. Charles Capito, who specializes in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. Like the other orthopedic surgeons at Weirton Medical Center, Capito has years of experience in joint replacement, including hip replacement arthroplasty, knee resurfacing, and knee and shoulder surgery. "This new system has the potential to provide the greatest stability to the knee that we have seen in medical technology to date," he said.

"This new replacement technology is an innovative total knee replacement system that has demonstrated the best performance among the most frequently used brands of implants," added Dr. Stephen Alatis, who specializes in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at Weirton Medical Center. "I believe that this technology is the future direction of total joint replacement."

Alatis specializes in fracture management, traumatic and overuse injuries and degenerative problems of the spine and extremities. Using both surgical and non-surgical procedures, he treats injuries and degenerative problems of the feet, hands, wrists and performs arthroscopic surgery and joint replacements.

Long-term demand for total knee surgery in the U.S. has been projected to continue increasing from 0.5 million procedures in 2005 to 3.48 million procedures in 2030. The Stryker system provides the ability for Weirton Medical Center to customize the procedure to each patient's unique anatomy and reaffirming the hospital's commitment to provide our patients with leading orthopedic technology and care.

"The ability to contain costs and increase efficiencies while providing a new knee replacement technology like ShapeMatch to the community is important for our hospital to meet the demands for total knee patients well into the future," said Charles M. O'Brien, chief executive officer of Weirton Medical Center. "We are now able to provide a viable and innovative choice for those who may need joint replacement."

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