By Dennis Douda, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Doctors perform more than 500,000 knee joint replacements in the U.S. each year. Aging baby boomers are expected to double that number in the next five years.

What if a solution could be found to ease the pain without surgery for a fraction of the cost? One that works while you sleep?

Orthopedic surgeon Nolan Segal got Gregg Corwin walking again without making a single cut. Corwin suffered from arthritis and a severe loss of cartilage, and had trouble even walking to the end of his block without pain.

“When he first came to me, he had difficulty even getting in and out of a car,” said Segal.

Before turning to knee joint replacement, Segal suggested Corwin try a wraparound sleeve that generates an electrical current, wearing it while sleeping.

The FDA allows the company Bionicare to say the joint stimulator reduces pain and increases mobility. They can’t claim it grows cartilage, but Segal says he’s seen that take place on the contact surfaces inside the joint.

“I would say two-thirds of the patients have responded really well to it,” said Segal. “I do have a couple of people where I’ve done sequential X-rays, and there is actually widening of the joint space, which is remarkable because nothing has ever done that before.”

For Corwin, who has been through shoulder and hip replacement in the past year, avoiding surgery saves more than just money.

“It’s the time away from work. It’s the rehab. It’s the physical therapy. It’s all the inconvenience. It’s a hospitalization,” he said.

The cost for the treatment ranges from $1,100 for the basic sleeve to a $2,500 unit with a knee brace to help support the joint. Either price is a bargain compared to the alternative, according to Segal.

“If you have a knee replacement, costs in this area range from $30,000 to $50,000,” he said. “So you’re talking a minimal expense with the potential of relief without the risks of surgery.”

For more information on the treatment, check Bionicare’s website.

Comments (17)
  1. Elaine Heisterkamp says:

    Need desperately!! Have no insurance but can make small payments. Ibuprophen doesn’t help anymore. Help!

  2. jennifer says:

    You can contact Dr. Steven Trobiani at 763-416-1400.

  3. Christine Sandberg says:

    Very excited about this new information, would love to try, have severe knee pain plus joint, with no health insurance. Like this less invasive procedure. Been using large doses of fish oil, calcium and glucosamine chondroitin complex. HELP!

  4. Dan says:

    I was going to make the same point as Erin. You rock! My other observation is that if the xray is of the knee of the gentleman in the feature, he has minimal if any arthritis and wouldn’t be a candidate for surgery anyway. I’m a physician with lots of experience in sports medicine.

    1. roger says:

      Dan, I think the main thing is does this actually work. It doesn’t matter which way the knee was placed in the comment section. I have had surgery, 25 yrs ago and I know I have arthritus in my knee. I have lived with it and most of the time do not use medicines of any kind but after having some major surgery [ not knee ] I have had trouble with it not really pain just the usein stairs etc.

  5. Billy says:

    you can contact me for a kiss and a hug @ 612-570-0138

    1. Timur says:

      Katz, you will please note the dnffereice between rate of teenagers having sex , rate of teenagers getting pregnant , and teenage birth rate .Also, how do those figures control for ah, how do I say this delicately different, ah, ethnic groups within the United States?

  6. kelly says:

    Western Orthopaedics
    3931 Louisiana Ave. suite W417
    ST. LOUIS PARK , MN 55426
    Phone: 7636942977
    In Network with most all Insurance Plans (except HealthPartners)

  7. kelly says:

    This is not a bone growth stimulator. It is totally diiferent. This is specifically for improving the condition of arthritis in the knee joint.

  8. Amanda says:

    You can make an appointment with Dr. Nolan Segal, who was featured in this news clip at (763) 694-2977 located in St. Louis Park, MN at the Meadowbrook building at Park Nicollet Methodist. 3931 Louisiana Avenue South, Suite W417 St. Louis Park, MN 55426

  9. Brenda says:

    Would appreciate if the reporters would find out and report if the physicians have any conflict of interests (investments, consulting with the company, payments from the medical device company etc…) when reporting on new medical technology.

  10. Cheyane says:

    The xray shown here is not even a surgical canidate!! Of course this would work if you dont have arthritis! This brace Will NOT take away from needing a knee replacement. Hopefully soon something will come out that will but at this point this is not going to do the trick! The knee in the xray above has MINIMAL arthritis!!

  11. Dr. N. Segal says:

    I have no arrangement with the company. No consulting fees,investment in or kickbacks from the company.

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