Mathys – doctor interview

Flexible and stable at once: initial experiences with the EMPOWR 3D Knee System

Society’s requirements for mobility have changed significantly. The need for flexibility in those who are physically active is just as great as the need for stability, according to orthopaedic surgeons Dr Hervé Silbert, France, and Dr Eric Reiss, Switzerland. We asked about their initial experiences with the innovative «Natural Motion Technology».

Dr Eric Reiss

Dr Eric Reiss studied medicine at the University of Freiburg and has been a Swiss Medical Association specialist in orthopaedics, orthopaedic surgery and traumatology of the musculoskeletal system since 2004. He has a degree in health economics from the European Business School (EBS) and is a member of various expert associations. From 2004 to 2006 he was expert senior physician at the Olten Cantonal Hospital, and in 2005 he began working as team doctor to EHC Olten. Since 2006, Dr Reiss has led his practice OrthoPraxis PhysioReha Mittelland in Zofingen, Switzerland, as a group practice with Dr Lorenz Bichsel.

Dr Hervé Silbert

Dr Hervé Silbert completed his medical training in Clermont-Ferrand and initially set up in general surgery before later specialising in knee and foot surgery. Dr Silbert is a sports injury surgeon and works in a surgical polyclinic in Boujan-sur-Libron. He is a member of the French Society for Sports Medicine and the European Society for Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy.


What made you decide to use the EMPOWR 3D Knee?

Dr Reiss: Many of my patients who need a new knee prosthesis are physically active: they play tennis, go hiking or dance. So they ask about prostheses that will enable a high level of activity and functionality. The range of motion needs to be pretty high. At the same time, a prosthesis also has to offer a high degree of stability in all joint positions. The new knee therefore has to be resilient, flexible and, in particular, has to enable good rotation. In the EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis I believe this combination has been achieved very successfully. That’s why I've already used it many times.

Dr Silbert: I’d just like to add that with this prosthesis we’re dealing with an innovative, highly promising concept. I had already heard a lot about this from the US. I like innovations, but only when they are safe, offer added value and do not come with increased risk. And I knew I could rely on that with this prosthesis. Like all my colleagues, I consider it my duty to use only safe, high-quality implants.


What have your initial experiences of implantation with the EMPOWR 3D Knee System been like?

Dr Silbert: The EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis offers various implantation options for every surgical strategy. That is important, because there are various different approaches depending on where and how surgeons have been trained. It is possible, therefore, to begin both at the tibia and at the femur. And with the EMPOWR 3D Knee, that’s no problem at all – I appreciate that a great deal. The system is able to adapt to the surgeon’s usual practice, meaning everyone can get the hang of it. The implantation itself is intuitive and allows for very high precision.

Dr Reiss: I’ve also found that the instruments have a high manufacturing quality. As well as this, the surgical instructions are laid out in a well-considered, logical way, especially for the surgical assistants. The individual steps of the operation are very clearly depicted.


«With the EMPOWR 3D Knee, we are one step closer to the "forgotten knee"».


In your view, what clinical challenges are addressed with the EMPOWR 3D Knee?

Dr Reiss: The EMPOWR 3D Knee System can work for an incredibly wide range of patients. It is suitable both for physically active patients as well as for target groups with a high need for stability. Not to mention the e+ tibial insert: the polyethylene granules are mixed with vitamin E, which protects the material from oxidation and therefore embrittlement. We can expect that this will lead to a longer lifespan, which is important for patients. I estimate that the typical lifespans of 10 to 15 years can be substantially increased. That is a particular benefit for younger patients. It makes their decision to have a prosthesis easier, when all other options have been exhausted. The implant could significantly increase their quality of life – for many years.

Dr Silbert: I can absolutely confirm that. The way I see it, with the EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis, we are one step closer to the ‘forgotten knee’. People with implants shouldn’t be able to feel that their own knee has been replaced. From my experiences, I’d say we are on the right track with this: the patients who have had the operation so far had no pain after six weeks and the flexion is good. There is no friction and no tension. The operation of the patella works very well on account of the design. And the concept of the asymmetric tibia is absolutely in keeping with the requirements of our time. The prosthesis enables us to easily achieve the stability of a natural, healthy knee over the entire range of motion.


«The high quality and finish of the prosthesis, and the good quality of service, create trust».


What would you pass on to colleagues who were starting with the EMPOWR 3D system?

Dr Reiss: Our experience so far is still fairly short. The EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis has only been available in Europe since August 2022. Having said that, my initial experiences have been promising. It’s been possible to mobilise patients early and successfully, as Dr Silbert has mentioned. The mobility is good to very good, compared over time. We do our check-ups after six weeks and three months, so we can already compare the EMPOWR 3D Knee System with other prostheses a bit. Another important point about this prosthesis, though, is the high quality of service. The supply chain is very good, there are no problems with delivery, and I feel well supported by the manufacturer.

Dr Silbert: From my point of view, the EMPOWR 3D Knee System is an innovative prosthesis that is safe and follows a modern philosophy. The quality and finish are excellent, as I have come to expect from Mathys. The system is very reliable and easy to implant, not only by specialists but also by junior colleagues. 


«With the EMPOWR 3D Knee System we can also win over people who are undecided».


How do you think patients could benefit from the EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis?

Dr Silbert: There is still a large proportion of patients who shrink from the idea of a prosthesis. We have to offer these people a high-quality joint replacement that comes as close as possible to a natural knee. That’s the only way we will convince these undecided patients. With the EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis and Natural Motion Technology, we now have a strong new argument to hand. This enables us to reach young, sporty people as well as older patients who want to be mobile and safe. The high stability is vitally important for older people especially. At the same time, the EMPOWR 3D Knee is very flexible due to the asymmetric design, and offers good mobility. That’s a particular advantage for the sporty ones. It’s fair to say the prosthesis offers the best of both worlds.


And what will your patients appreciate about the EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis, Dr Reiss?

Dr Reiss: When I talk to my patients about various prosthesis options, I adapt my advice to their biological age and ask about what they require. Only then do I choose something appropriate from the available prostheses and explain the advantages and disadvantages to the patient, before making a decision together with them. The patients benefit from a careful selection. With regard to the EMPOWR 3D Knee prosthesis, I have to say that I have so far never seen any arthrofibrosis. Rehabilitation has been good and fast. Pain reduction has occurred quickly. Mobility is good. So far, my patients have been very satisfied.


Dr Silbert, Dr Reiss, thank you for talking to us!


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