By: 12 December 2017
Creating a buzz over technology and innovation

Alister Hart welcomed delegates to the Royal Armouries in Leeds in November for the second OPN Knee Conference

With a packed programme and high profile speakers in attendance, the Orthopaedic Knee Conference 2017 was always guaranteed to spark some lively debate and heated discussions, and this year did not disappoint.

Focusing on the theme of ‘Improving outcomes through innovation’, the speakers looked at the latest developments in the areas of sports injuries, knee implant regulation, custom and revision knee implants and new technology for knee surgery, including robotics. The aims of the conference were to explore and debate how to improve outcomes following knee surgery, for the active patient, the younger patient and also elite athletes and professional sportspeople. Questions were asked about why knees get injured and the clinical relevance of knee MRI findings; how to increase the lifespan of knee implants; who, when and how to revise knee implants; and which technologies will help improve knee implant function.

Chair of the meeting Alister Hart, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London, engaged with the audience and encouraged some lively discussions and dynamic debate.

Following the first session with a focus on ‘Return to sports after surgery and enhanced recovery’, Alister said: “We’ve had a great technology and innovation update from Ian McDermott and Mike McNicholas on knee cartilage resurfacing techniques. We’ve had some great questions from the audience and the audience got very engaged.”

Delegate Linda Dew, of ONRAD in the USA, commented: “Science is not something that is practised in just one country, science is something that you share all around the world, so it’s important I think for doctors to go to other places and learn as well. I know a lot of orthopaedic surgeons come to England to learn different procedures.”

Our second session looked at ‘Improving outcomes after knee replacement’ with a focus on updates from the NJR and ODEP. The NJR is a powerful tool to help identify implants that fail early and to spot trends to help identify surgeons who may have a higher than average revision rate. Peter Howard spoke about the NJR’s 14th annual report and the future of the NJR for surgeons and companies, the trends for revision surgery and how have knee mismatches been recorded in the registry. While Keith Tucker gave an update on Beyond Compliance, as they continue to encourage innovation and improvements in patient outcome, while maintaining patient safety, with a more cost-effective delivery of care over time.

The third session focused on custom implants and revision, a key change in the industry as younger and younger patients are presenting needing knee replacements and patients’ expectations for improvement in function are higher than ever. Custom implants match the geometry of a patient’s knee precisely, meaning surgeons no longer have to remove additional bone to make the knee match an off-the-shelf implant. Ian McDermott called them the Savile Row of knee replacements, but can you justify this more expensive procedure?

Speaker Harry Hothi said: “There are now over 200 implants in which surgeons can choose from and it’s important to get informed about which implant is good to use and for which patient, and understanding when something does go wrong, why has it gone wrong.”

Finally, we looked at technology in orthopaedic surgery and the future of knee surgery using robotic-assisted technology and other innovations. Louise Jennings of the University of Leeds discussed product innovation of the all-polymer knee replacement, while Dinesh Nathwani, Johann Henckel and Sujith Konan looked at using robotic technology in knee surgery.

Throughout the day, in the break-out area, a wide range of manufacturers and industry leaders were on hand to discuss their products and the latest innovation relating to knee surgery and practise. Companies included DePuy Synthes, Zimmer Biomet, FH Ortho and Stryker.

Chris McCarthy, of DePuy Synthes, said: “It’s been a really successful event with lots of really positive feedback from the delegates we’ve spoken to. I think the focus on innovation and patient outcomes is critical and central to what we know is going to make a difference going forwards.”

Richard Brown, of Zimmer Biomet, said: “Being the biggest knee supplier in the world it’s relevant that we be at any knee meetings. Last year we had some great feedback from the stand and got some good leads from a business point of view, so we’re hoping to be back next year as well.”

We now look ahead to our third OPN Knee Conference in Leeds in 2018 and hope to welcome new and returning delegates to the event. We will keep you posted with all the latest news regarding our meetings, but if you are interested in attending, or if you require further information, please contact or call 01423 851150.