The first ever feline knee replacement in the United States was done recently at North Carolina State. A cat named Cyrano who had treatment for bone cancer that significantly weakened his leg was the recipient of the total knee replacement. Cyrano is a 20 pound cat for whom leg amputation was not an option. His bones however, were large enough to hold a total knee replacement. Although this has been done previously in dogs, the smaller anatomy of the cat made this particularly difficult.
A NCSU veterinary surgeon, Dr Denis Marcellin-Little and an NSCU engineer Ola Harrysson are pioneers in the field of osseous integration for animals. This means that they integrate a metal prosthesis into living bone. Marcellin-Little said Cyrano’s plastic and cobalt chromium alloy implant is more like those used in humans.
“It has a form of articulation that is unique — that allows the implant to bend and rotate,” he said, demonstrating with a model during a news conference before the surgery. More than a dozen people worked on developing and testing the implant, each half of which is about 2 inches long.
The surgery took 7 hours to complete and Dr Marcellin-Little was recommending Cyrano take it easy for 3 months. “ He won’t be climbing trees any time soon’” he said.
A lot of the time and material were donated for this surgery so the actual cost is not known, however the owners will be paying around $20,000 for this procedure.
The owners feel this is worth every penny, because Cyrano is their baby. He certainly is one lucky cat!