The Department of Functional and Biological Reconstruction of the Knee has as its mission the reconstructive treatment of the knee, with its expertise ranging from sports pathology to degenerative pathology and biological treatments. The surgical team performs over 450 operations and sees over 2000 patients annually.
Professor Maurilio Marcacci, who has over forty years of surgical experience, heads the Department, and Professor Elizaveta Kon directs the sub-unit of Translational Orthopedics. The Department has built considerable expertise in latest surgical techniques and patient care over the past decades, thanks to its highly qualified surgeons and continuous clinical and research activity. In particular, the specialists focus on innovative treatments for ligament reconstruction, meniscal transplants, and reconstructions for professional athletes.
Professor Marcacci’s group holds patents and leads translational research projects for the development and validation of new prosthetic implants: research in the field of biomechanics has led to innovation in computer-aided surgery, from traditional navigation systems to new gyroscopic sensors, the development of dynamic roentgen stereophotogrammetrytechnologies, and participation in the development of new custom-made prosthetic designs.
The Department also engages in research in the domain of cartilage reconstruction, from the development of new biomaterials to the study of new applications for multipotent cells and plasma growth factors.
What is more, the specialists are active in the field of the reconstruction of large post-traumatic bone defects, which the surgeons treat with the use of expanded stem cells in associations with biomaterials.
The surgical team is an active part of numerous international research projects and clinical studies, in many cases as coordinators, especially in the field of the use of biological treatments (growth factors, stem cells and bioengineered scaffolds) for the treatment of osteocartilage pathology, both degenerative and post-traumatic.
Thanks to its knowledge of biomechanics, sports medicine and regenerative medicine, as well as considerable experience in clinical and pre-clinical research, the team is able to venture into a new field of applied research, dedicated to biological joint reconstruction, in particular, the development of new joint replacement concepts that affect all joint components, from bone to cartilage to ligament structures.
Today, the standard practice in knee surgery is to use metal prostheses, which are suitable for older patients with limited functional needs. The Humanitas team, on the other hand, strives to utilize joint reconstruction systems that can restore biological characteristics and guarantee a better quality of life to young patients, allowing them to continue practicing sports, including those professional.
Many therapeutic procedures at the basis of this “biological reconstruction” are already a clinical reality applied at Humanitas. Ultimately, the final goal of the research carried out by Pr. Marcacci team is to develop new approaches to functional and biological joint reconstruction.