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Lourdes Offers New Imaging Device to Give Patients Real-Time Answers for Joint Injuries

mi-eye photo McMillan

Sicklerville resident Amanda Butler had always been active. A runner and softball player growing up, nowadays she likes hiking through the mountains with her husband and two-year-old. But a knee injury was making those hikes more and more difficult.

“I was injured while horseback riding years ago,” said Butler, 36. “A MRI showed my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus were both torn.”

Despite surgery to treat the horseback riding injury, Butler’s knee pain only worsened over time.   “My knee would lock up. Any movement, or even sitting too long, would cause it to happen. It started happening more often too.”

Butler was referred to Sean McMillan, DO, FAOAO, Chief of Orthopedics at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County.

“The day before my January appointment, my knee locked up again. I had it. I was tired of limping. I just wanted an answer to what was causing the pain, and to find out how to get better.”

The desire for a fast answer convinced Butler to try a new device that Dr. McMillan offers in his office called mi-eyeâ„¢.   The innovative device uses a needle with an integrated camera and light source to perform a diagnostic arthroscopy in the doctor’s office–enabling patients to learn the cause of their orthopedic pain immediately rather than having to wait for the results of an MRI. Lourdes is first in New Jersey to offer the device.

“This new technology can eliminate the need to make an appointment for an MRI at another site, have the test done and then wait for the MRI results to be read and sent back to the orthopedic surgeon,” said Dr. McMillan, who also serves as the hospital’s Chief of Surgery. “By using mi-eye in the office, we get real-time results. Because of this, we can diagnose injuries immediately and set up a treatment plan, and/or a surgery date, sooner. This gets patients back to their regular, everyday lives faster.”

“Dr. McMillan gave me the option of having an MRI or finding out the results with mi-eye right then,” said Butler. “I really liked the idea of knowing right away. I also don’t love MRIs. I tend to feel claustrophobic. I said to him, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Within five minutes, Dr. McMillan could see I had a tear flap in the meniscus and needed surgery.”

It is also helpful in cases where an MRI cannot be performed, such as when a person has a metal implant in the body or a pacemaker, said Dr. McMillan.

Here’s how mi-eye works: A data cable attaches a portable LCD tablet to a disposable, single-use needle. The needle connects to a 2.1-millimeter arthroscope with an integrated camera and light source. The camera allows physicians to see the intra-articular joint space on the LCD screen and capture still images.

If a patient elects to have mi-eye performed in the office, the injured area is numbed with a local anesthetic. The needle is inserted and the physician evaluates the condition of the injured area. The test takes about 10 minutes. After the needle is withdrawn, a bandage is put on the injection site. No recovery is needed from the diagnostic test.

If surgery is recommended after the test, Dr. McMillan’s office sets up a surgery date and starts the necessary paperwork process.

Butler successfully underwent surgery on February 16.

“There was a tear all the way around my knee,” explained Butler. “It was so bad that Dr. McMillan commented that he didn’t know how I was walking.”

Butler is healing. She no longer needs a cane or an ACE bandage for support. She underwent physical therapy to build up the strength in her knee, which is standard after meniscus surgery.

“The nice thing about having the mi-eye exam was that I knew I needed surgery and that my surgery was scheduled right away,” said Butler. “Everything, including the follow-up appointment, was done within a month. I’m glad not to be in pain anymore and to have my quality of life back–and that couldn’t come soon enough. Dr. McMillian’s hands-on care provided me with the best options for my knee.”

Dr. McMillan said he’s excited to offer this new technology to patients and feels he’ll have a lot of use for it in his practice. “With mi-eye, it allows physicians to provide patients with the answers to what is causing their pain on the first patient visit. Not only does it save time, but it also gives patients peace of mind knowing what their injury is right away. And the sooner we can start treatment, the sooner the patient can heal and have a better all-around experience.”

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