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World’s first ‘artificial meniscus’ implant performed in Israel

The implant is inserted into the knee joint through a small incision and mimics the function of the natural meniscus

A team of surgeons performs an innovative meniscus transplant. (photo credit: ACTIVE IMPLANTS LLC)

Israel was the first country in the world to perform a new “artificial meniscus” transplant, which was developed in Israel by Active Implants LLC. The transplant can easily replace previous treatments for people with damaged or torn menisci to help in pain management and physical therapy.

The NUsurface Implant passed clinical trials in Israel performed by two leading surgeons, Dr. Gabriel Agar from Shamir Medical Center and Dr. Ron Arbel from Ramat-Aviv Medical Center, who were involved in the development of the new technology.

“It is an exciting time to finally be able to make the NUsurface Implant available to Israeli patients,” said Agar. “Continued pain after repairing meniscus tears is a very common orthopedic problem, and until now, we have not had effective treatment options.”

The implant, made of medical-grade plastic and inserted into the knee joint through a small incision, mimics the function of the natural meniscus. The implant requires no fixation to bone or soft tissues, allowing patients to go home soon after the operation.

The new technology is intended for people who have regular knee pain following medial meniscus surgery; have failed meniscus repair; are not suitable candidates for a meniscus allograft transplant; or are too young for knee replacement. It was given a Breakthrough Device Designation by the US Food and Drug Administration, a new program that expedites development and reviewing for the chosen medical devices.

“Filling the gap in treatment options between minimally invasive meniscus repair and total knee replacement is a large unmet need in the orthopedic market,” said Ted Davis, president and CEO of Active Implants. “The NUsurface Implant was invented and developed in our R&D [research and development] center in Israel, so for us it is very exciting to finally bring the device to people in Israel.”

This is not the first case in which Israel has led in innovative knee surgeries. In August 2018, Hadassah-University Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem successfully performed knee surgery using a new coral-based implant created by CartiHeal, an Israeli start-up.