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April 9, 2019

Arthrosurface creates pre-sized knee joint replacements

Arthrosurface CEO Steve Ek.
Photo | Courtesy The Arthrosurface Patellofemoral Wave Kahuna Arthroplasty device.

Franklin joint replacement manufacturer Arthrosurface has begun selling its newest device, the Patellofemoral WaveKahuna Arthroplasty System. The first operation using the device was performed last week on a patient at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. In an interview, CEO Steve Ek spoke about the technology behind the device. 

How is the system made? 

They’re made ahead of time. We make all of our implants from raw materials, not casts. We use material without any sort of microstructural flaws. When you do castings, there are imperfections causing implants to be weaker. Because of that, we can make our implants about a third thinner than a lot of other traditional companies. 

Are these made custom to each person?

We go into every case with every size of implant like a very well-stocked shoe store. There is a little hype around the patient-specific implant, but that makes things very expensive and requires two procedures, prep and diagnostic work.

We think you can get the perfect-fitting shoe going into it with all of the sizes.

How did that first surgery go? 

It was last week, and since then, we’ve done maybe 15 around the country in Massachusetts, Seattle, California and a handful of others. We got a letter from one of the first users, which was pretty inspirational. He called it a game changer.

What was his reason?

This is a second generation of a product we launched in 2009. That product has done very well, but the new generation has to do with how the patella tracts in certain patients where the patella in unstable. What this does is provide more control while the patella comes into the knee joint from a superior position. 

What is the recovery time like?

It’s definitely less than a typical knee replacement. Even for the first generation product, patients were sort of doing passive motion activities weeks before your traditional total knee therapy protocol. Weight bearing was weeks ahead of other programs.

How have sales been so far?

When we launch a product, we tend to launch with a select group of surgeons first. We really rely on their feedback. We’ll launch a product a little conservatively with five or six surgeons until we conclude a phase over the next two months before we build more of a full-scale inventory for a full-blown natural launch.

How many different products does the company have?

We service most of the major joints of the body. We probably have 200 to 300 part codes. One of our most successful clinical products services your large toe.

We set out to be a knee and shoulder company in the early days, but we discovered along the way if you have arthritis in your great toe, you’re as disabled as someone with arthritis in the knee.

Where are the products made?

We work with a company in Stoughton, Primo Medical Group. We are sort of a seed from that company. I started my career at that company, and we developed this technology out there.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Staff Writer Zachary Comeau. 

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