Dr. Matthew Levy, attending orthopedic surgeon at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, said he thought it was time to bring a new knee implant surgical method to Northeast Ohio.

Levy is one the first in the region to use iTotal from ConforMIS, a technology that ensures a knee implant is an exact fit for the patient, which reduces bone and healthy tissue loss during surgery. 

Northeast Ohio prides itself in being a rapidly developing medical field with its surgeons and methods, but Levy said iTotal “resonated” with him as a major addition to current practices.

“If you look at joint replacement in general, while there have been advances over the years, they were small or minor,” he said. “But this one, it was a big advance. When I explored it, it made a lot of sense and it answers a lot of issues in the field of knee replacement surgery.”

Using the iTotal system, Levy can provide patients with an implant built specifically for a patient’s anatomy. The technology also uses CT scans from the patient’s hip to ankle and 3-D printers to design an implant to fit the natural shape and curve of one’s knee.

“I had done the traditional way of doing knee replacements for the first 20-plus years of my career,” said Levy, a member of Temple Emanu El in Orange. “One of the people I worked with came across the technology and introduced it to me. The first thing was to learn about it and spend some time in the lab and look at my patients population wise and see who would be the first people to try it on.”

Levy thought to first test the new method on patients whose cases seemed straight forward, but decided that wasn’t a full utilization of the technology.

“Once I saw that, I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a bad indication for this,” he said. “Anyone that walks in my door that needs a knee replacement is a great candidate for it. Basically, in traditional knee replacements, surgeons have a selection of six to 10 sizes. For a majority of cases, that is fine. What this technology does is we can specify the cutting jigs and the sizes to an exact match to the client. This improves the overall procedure.”

As technology continues to progress, Levy said methods like iTotal will not only improve client experience but also the amount of information available to doctors.

“As our industry embraces the technology out there, it is inevitable that there will be advances with computer technology and 3-D printing,” he said. “Another thing that is interesting about this specific method is we get a cat scan from the hip to the knee and we can see the alignment of the leg. Every time this data is imputed into the computer, it is stored. With the increasing number of data we feed in there, the technology is only going to improve and get better.”

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