Sentara now offers subchondroplasty, a new minimally invasive procedure, to help allieviate common knee pain caused by arthritis or injury.

New procedure at Sentara provides relief for common knee pain

For anyone experiencing knee pain - whether from injury or from arthritis - the effects can be debilitating. 

When 42-year-old Kimberly Troche tripped at home and fell down some steps, she had no idea that what seemed like a simple injury would result in knee pain that worsened over 10 months and would persist through countless physical therapy sessions and doctor visits. Not ready for an invasive procedure such as knee replacement, Troche was forced to limit her activity because she believed there were no other options.

Then Troche arrived at her appointment to see Dr. Sam Robinson, an orthopedic surgeon with the Jordan Young Institute. Both Roche and Robinson describe the timing as divine, as Robinson was just getting ready to offer a new minimally invasive procedure to help with knee pain and decreased joint function caused by small cracks or stress fractures and which can often lead to structural deterioration of the knee joint. Called subchondroplasty, this procedure was not available in the Hampton Roads region before Dr. Robinson performed the first case at Sentara Leigh Hospital – on Troche – in the fall of 2014.

In simple terms, subchondroplasty is a procedure where the surgeon cleans out the joint and then injects a bone substitute made of calcium phosphate into the bone defect. The calcium phosphate sets hard in about 10 minutes and mimics the strength of bone. Over time, natural bone grows in its place. This new approach preserves the patient’s joint and offers a much quicker recovery time. Patients report significant pain relief and studies have shown the benefits can last for more than five years.

Troche could not be happier with her results. Just two months after her procedure, she reports zero pain in her knee and she is back in the gym working on her leg strength. Troche has set a goal to beginning running for exercise. This transformation is nothing short of a miracle for Troche, who before her surgery was worried that she would be bound to a wheelchair indefinitely.

“Dr. Robinson saved my life when I was about to give up,” says Troche.

According to Robinson, this procedure is ideal for patients who may be suffering with knee pain, but are not yet ready for knee replacement surgery. Having subchondroplasty also does not limit treatment options of a partial or full joint replacement down the road.

Robinson has performed several cases since introducing the procedure and is excited about the promising results. He adds that while not for everyone, subchondroplasty is a great option for many patients suffering with osteoarthritis or chronic inflammation in the knee joint..