Surgical team at NCSU performs unique feline knee replacement

Surgical team at NCSU performs unique feline knee replacement

Mar 01, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. — A veterinary team at North Carolina State University (NCSU) recently performed a unique total knee replacement surgery on a cat.

Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little, professor of orthopedics at NCSU, led a team of four other veterinary surgeons in the nearly six-hour surgery on Jan. 26 to replace a hind-leg knee of a 10-year-old cat. NCSU officials say the state-of-the-art knee will provide a full range of natural motion unavailable in previous feline knee-replacement surgeries.

The most unique aspect of the surgery, according to the college, is that the prosthetic knee was custom-made for Cyrano and implanted through a technique that fuses engineered components into the leg.

Also known as osseointegration, this technique creates a strong, permanent bond between living tissue and the titanium implant, NCSU says.

Cyrano's knee was originally weakened by radiation therapy to treat cancer, NCSU reports. While the cancer was in remission, Cyrano could no longer stand on the leg, according to its owner. The surgery was successful, and the cat is recovering.

The entire procedure was the result of eight months of collaboration between a high-tech computer design firm, engineers, manufacturers and veterinary surgeons. Polymer replicas of Cyrano's leg created by computer modeling at the NCSU College of Engineering allowed Marcellin-Little to practice the surgery over a period of time and suggest delicate changes in the engineered components, according to the veterinary college.