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New implant could provide relief for those with knee pain

HOUSTON – For the first time in the United States, surgeons have implanted a new device designed to relieve knee pain in patients with arthritis.

The Calypso Knee Device is putting spring back in the steps of people whose knees have been worn down after years of use.

Chuck Stenger used to be in pain. Thirty-three years as a professional firefighter took a toll on his joints.

“I was on an accident scene, and I was kneeling down to treat a patient, and it felt like a nail was going through my knee,” Stenger said.

Stenger struggled for years with arthritis pain and was considering getting a knee replacement when he learned about a new option.

The Calypso Knee System is being tested at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Surgeons make a 6-inch incision on the inside of the knee and insert the device.

“You’re putting a shock absorber outside the knee joint on the inner portion of the knee so that when they are walking, that shock absorber takes some of the load off,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Flanigan said.

Doctors say the hope is that the device will delay or eliminate a patient’s need to have a knee replacement.

Stenger was the first patient in the country to have the Calypso implanted.

“The second day post-op, I put the crutches away,” Stenger said.

There’s a small bump on the side of his knee. Otherwise, Stenger can’t feel the device, but he knows it’s working.

“Walking the dogs is not a problem now. Up and down stairs. With this Calypso, if it works for me, I hope it helps a lot of other people, too,” Stenger said.

Researchers are studying the Calypso Knee Device, developed by the company Moximed, in 80 patients before it could be available nationwide. In European studies, the implant has provided pain relief for a decade for some patients.