New technology helps revolutionize knee replacements

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - One local surgeon is making history in Savannah.

Dr. Mark Winchell, a specialist with Savannah Bone and Joint, is the first to use groundbreaking technology for knee replacements.

For the past two years, John Hillis has lived with chronic pain in his left knee. The cartilage is gone, leaving bone on bone.

"I've done braces, cortisone shots, all of that, but it's been pretty bad," said Hillis. "A lot of pain associated with walking, going up and down stairs."

That simple task will become a lot easier and less painful thanks to a device part of the Visionaire Patient Match System. It's revolutionizing the way surgeons perform knee replacements.

Dr. Winchell is the first in Savannah to try it.

"They do an MRI on the knee before the patient comes to the operating room. Based on the MRI scan and x-rays, they make these blocks. These blocks are put on the patient's bone to make the cuts so they're absolutely, perfect and precise," explained Winchell.

The custom fit blocks are done weeks before the surgery cutting down time in operating room and the risk of infection, blood loss and pain.

Once the knee is opened up, the blocks are used.

"We basically place them on the bone and pin them in place," said Winchell. "We use these slots to cut the bone that's bad and worn out so we can implant on to the bone and attach it there with a special type of bone glue."

Dr. Winchell is also using an advanced implant made of ceramic and plastic to give Hillis a new knee that should last him a lifetime.

"It's a ceramic surface which lowers the wear of the plastic by five thousand times, which makes the knee last longer," said Winchell.

"I'm hoping that they won't have to go back and do anything," said Hillis. "That's the good thing about this knee. It's a custom fit knee, this knee is designed for me."

The surgery is a success changing the way Hillis will now live his life.

Dr. Winchell says Hillis will have to go through rehabilitation but should have full use of his left knee in three months.

The visionaire system is the first FDA approved MRI knee technology in the world.

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