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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Meet the man behind the new artificial meniscus

by Take Two®

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Knee pain is common, but surgery isn't necessarily the answer, researchers say. Inna Jacquemin/iStockphoto

The meniscus is a crescent of cartilage that cushions the knee joint.

But it can wear down over time, especially if you're active. And that means pain and - maybe - arthritis.

Now, a team of San Diego researchers has developed artificial meniscus that could be a fix.

Doctor Darryl D'Lima is the director of orthopedic research at Scripps Clinic and led the development of this lab-grown knee-fixer.

"Knee meniscal injury is very common," Dr. D'Lima told Take Two's A Martinez.

"Surgery to either repair or replace or reconstruct the meniscus is one of the most common, if not the most common, orthopedic operations. The estimates are over a million procedures being done every year in the U.S. alone."

There are some solutions that are already in place, including removal of the damaged part of the meniscus. But even though that results in immediate relief from the painful symptoms, Dr. D'Lima said that that comes with a downside.

"For 50 percent of these patients, ten years down the road, they will get osteoarthritis. That's what we've not been able to prevent from happening. So coming up with an alternative to removing the meniscus; either repairing it more consistently or coming up with a biological replacement would be better."

To hear the full conversation, click the blue player above.

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