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First Vitamin E Total Knee Replacement In America At Tri-City Medical Center


Here is a story to warm the hearts - and knees - of boomers who aren't looking forward to having knee surgery.

Dr. James Helgager, an experienced orthopedic surgeon, just implanted the first vitamin E Total Knee Replacement in San Diego last week, at Oceanside'a Tri-City Medical Center. Helgager is the Medical Director of Joint Replacement for the Orthopaedic and Spine Institute at the Center. He has been practicing medicine for more than three decades and has performed thousands of total knee replacements.

A new innovative polyethylene blended with vitamin E, to prevent oxidation is manufactured by Vista-based DJO Surgical, a DJO Global Company. The product is labeled E-plus(TM). This insert was created for the 3DKnee(TM), a knee replacement designed to improve strength, stability, and flexion.

The Weak Point In Total Knee Replacement

Polyethylene wear is a major weak point in total knee replacement, but the Vitamin E improves the material's tensile strength, and at the same time prevents oxidation that degenerates the polyethylene. "This will help the material hold up to the expectations of today's active patient. E-plus is the first blended vitamin e polyethylene, meaning that the vitamin E is blended right into the resin and is homogeneous throughout the insert component."

The 3DKnee Data Driven Design is based on over a decade of research into total knee kinematics and over 30,000 have been implanted world-wide. E-plus now adds a new level of performance to 3DKnee total knee replacement.

"The cause of Total Knee Replacement failure is polyethylene wear and DJO's E-plus polyethylene bearing surface is very promising in addressing this issue. Long-term studies will prove its longevity and performance benefits to the patient." - Dr. Helgager.

The number of orthopedic procedures is growing exponentially, due to the aging baby boomer population. People who have been more active need joint replacements younger, and they live longer. The use of strong, lasting materials in joint replacements is becoming much more important.

Dr. Helgager tells us that total knee replacement may be conducted either under general or local anesthesia, generally taking from 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. He says most patients can place weight on their new knee the same day or the day after surgery.

The Tri-City Medical Center is a leader in robotics and minimally invasive technologies. It is a Gold Seal-approved, full-service, acute-care hospital with two advanced clinical institutes, that has physicians practicing in 60 specialties.

Editor's Note:
Dr. Helgager can be reached at the Orthopaedic & Spine Institute at (760) 940-3000 or the physician line, (760)-724-9000.

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