Runner in pain Runner in pain When cartilage wears down in the knee, it can cause extreme pain. (Photo: Dirima/Shutterstock)

A new technique to regrow damaged cartilage is revolutionizing knee surgery

Doctors are using a coral-based material as an implant to heal patients suffering from knee pain.

We run marathons, we chase after children, we wait tables, we dance the night away. And through it all, our knees take a beating.

But thanks to a joint venture between an Israeli startup and Ben-Gurion University, millions of sufferers of knee pain may have a chance to walk a little more easily.

CartiHeal, founded by Nir Altschuler in 2009, developed a technology that uses aragonite, or Agili-C, to regrow damaged cartilage in affected patients. Agili-C is a compound derived from the exoskeletons of coral, a material that's known to regenerate over time. Earlier this summer, a team of doctors used the technology for the first time on a 30-year-old woman in Israel. From there, doctors are hoping the implant will grow new cartilage over time to replace the patient's damage.

knee surgery operating room Arthroscopic knee surgery is one of the most frequently performed orthopedic procedures. (Photo: egyjanek/Shutterstock)

And if that works, the technique could become the next wave in arthroscopic surgery. Agili-C is undergoing clinical studies as it awaits FDA approval. More than 70 patients have been treated with the implant around the world.

“The need for an implant that leads to the regrowth of damaged cartilage is genuinely needed in the orthopedic world, and we hope that the [clinical] trial will succeed, and that the implant will be the breakthrough that we have been waiting for for many years,” Dr. Adi Friedman, who performed the surgery, said in a statement.


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