Kaua‘i doctor brings new knee surgery technique to Wilcox

Kaua‘i Medical Clinic surgeon Dr. David Rovinsky earlier this year was the first in the state to perform the bicondylar knee resurfacing technique.

Whereas a total knee replacement replaces the entire knee joint, the resurfacing procedure only replaces the damaged or arthritic parts of the knee.

The technique spares all of the ligaments, preserves bone, and enables rapid return to full activity. The post-operative recovery is typically faster than that of the conventional knee replacement.

Rovinsky said patients with knee arthritis and are often told to wait until the pain is severe and then do a total knee replacement.

“This answer never sat well with me,” Rovinsky said.

As the chief of Wilcox Memorial Hospital’s Bone and Joint Center, Rovinsky has brought many new procedures to Kaua‘i, including a hip resurfacing surgery that affords similar advantages over traditional hip replacements.

Bo Hulse, 59, of Kapa‘a, was the first to receive the bicondylar knee resurfacing procedure on Kaua‘i. As an avid marathon runner in the 1970s and ’80s, his knees suffered high-impact stress over the years that made climbing stairs difficult.

On Nov. 26 of last year, Hulse received a left knee unicondylar resurfacing procedure at Wilcox. The recovery time was minimal, so he decided to undergo bicondylar knee resurfacing on the right knee, becoming the first such patient in Hawai‘i, on March 21.

“I was in the hospital for only one day after surgery and was up walking right away,” Hulse said. “I’m feeling almost back to normal.”

Unicondylar and bicondylar knee resurfacing is intended for patients suffering from knee pain due to osteoarthritis and for whom total knee replacement may not be appropriate. Most surgeons feel the procedure is ideal for many patients seeking to return to a high level of activity.

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