Beverly-based doctor offers customized knee replacement treatment
Beverly, Mass. - MaryEllen Scannell wanted to enjoy the simple
things in life: being able to get out of bed by herself, walking
the dog or driving her car. And more than anything she wanted to be
able to dance. The Lynn resident was in excruciating pain and
needed a double total knee replacement, but she couldn't find a
doctor willing to perform the surgery. Until, she met orthopedic
surgeon Dr. Hugh O'Flynn.
O'Flynn specializes in hip and knee replacements and has been in
practice in Beverly for more than 13 years. For the last couple of
years O'Flynn has been offering a new and exciting product by
ConforMIS, Inc. He performed his first total knee replacement using
ConforMIS products a little less than a year ago, and he operated
on Scannell on April 4.
Burlington-headquartered ConforMIS offers knee replacement
products that use personalized instruments and custom made implants
to create an artificial knee that is custom-made to each individual
patient. The knee replacement is the closest match to the patient's
anatomy. Their latest product is the iTotal G2 Knee Replacement
System, the only patient-specific total knee replacement available
on the market today, according to the company.
"Other companies offer eight or so sizes and try to match the
closest implant to your knee. ConforMIS is custom made as opposed
to fitting you into one of eight sizes," explains O'Flynn. "They've
made some great advancements."
How it works: A CT scan is taken of each patient to make sure
they get a knee that fits them. In addition, the tools used by the
surgeons are customized for each case. Because of these
advancements, ConforMIS products tend to feel more natural to
"They're trying to recreate your exact knee. It's not a routine
procedure yet but the company is exciting. The knee replacement
gives them a new surface to walk on that feels like their own
knee," said O'Flynn.
This was essential for Scannell, 61, a local Scottish Country
dancing teacher. She injured her knees from overuse while training
in Scotland. A member of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society,
she teaches a large class at Springstep, a community arts center in
Medford, as well as a class in Salem at the First Universalist
Society. Scottish Country dancing includes gigs and reels which are
quick time dances in sets of three and four couples. Scannell
describes it as "lots of bouncing around and traveling steps, like
skipping and traveling at same time."
"All knee replacements take the pain away. Conventional knee
replacements have been very successful for most people, it's the
bulk of what I do, but some people are looking for a little bit
more," said O'Flynn. For people who don't want to give up
activities like running and dancing and who are young and healthy,
ConforMIS may be a better option.
"Only select patients are healthy enough to do a total double
knee replacement once. We can't do that on everyone," explained
O'Flynn admits he's not doing a lot of total replacement
surgeries using ConforMIS because it's cost prohibitive for some
"With any new operation you have to justify the cost benefit,"
said O'Flynn, who presented the new technology to Beverly Hospital
to convince them to offer the surgery.
"It was very important for MaryEllen to have the ConforMIS
system. On her behalf we asked if this was something they [Beverly
Hospital] would allow," said O'Flynn. "You're always [as a doctor]
trying to use what's best for the patient and also be aware of the
cost, but you also have to try new innovations that might be better
for your patients."
Scannell said she was suffering terribly and spent unnecessary
time in excruciating pain before her surgery.
"Not being able to teach [dance classes] or drive, and falling
down. It really took a big chunk out of my life. It was
demoralizing and disheartening not being able to run with my dog,"
she said. "Now I can, and I'm so happy I can't stand myself."
Scannell was able to teach her dance classes after six weeks and
was up and dancing in eight weeks.
"It didn't hurt and it didn't bother me. I went slower at first
but there was no pain and discomfort. Lots of people in our dance
group have had knee replacements and a lot couldn't go back even in
twice the amount of time. I felt so fortunate," she said.
Becoming a surgeon
O'Flynn grew up in Ipswich and still lives in town. He is a
proud member of the Ipswich School Committee. After graduating from
Ipswich High, O'Flynn went on to Harvard University where he
graduated with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and a master's
degree in mechanical engineering. While at Harvard he played
football and got to see the injury side of medicine.
O'Flynn received his medical degree from Columbia College of
Physicians and Surgeons in 1993 and completed his Orthopedic
Residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He
completed a Total Joint Replacement fellowship at Mass General
Hospital in Boston in 1999, where he researched artificial knees,
their parts and how they can work better.
Now working with fellow physicians at Coastal Orthopedics, he
has offices at The Medical Building #201, adjacent to Beverly
Hospital on Herrick Street, as well as at the Beverly Hospital at
Source: Beverly Citizen / http://bit.ly/T26hrK