RALEIGH, N.C. — A cancer-survivor cat named Cyrano was resting comfortably Friday, with the help of pain meds, after receiving a custom-designed artificial knee during a six-hour surgery Thursday at N.C. State University.
Surgeons from Texas and Washington, D.C., were on hand to assist three orthopedic surgeons from the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine. The implant, designed and fabricated by an international team of collaborators, was made from dense plastic and a cobalt chromium alloy.
“The surgery was kind of a bit difficult, but it went very smoothly,” said Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little of NCSU, who led the surgical team.
Cyrano suffered from bone cancer that was treated successfully in 2010 with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy at Colorado State University, but the disease and treatment left him with a painfully damaged knee. His owner, Sandy Lerner of Upperville, Va., sought the knee replacement in an effort to avoid having to amputate the cat’s rear left leg.
The 20-pound, 10-year-old tabby was recuperating in NCSU’s veterinary intensive care unit and probably will go home Sunday. He won’t be allowed to walk for about a week.
“He’s already able to stand,” Marcellin-Little said Friday. “His foot is in the right place, and he can put his foot on the ground.”
Cyrano was eating, Marcellin-Little said, which was a good sign.
“So far, so good,” he said. “Now we have to be very patient with letting his tissues reattach, and it has to heal slowly.”