Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sean McMillan routinely orders MRIs for patients with knee, shoulder and other joint injuries.
He recently started using an alternative device developed by a suburban Philadelphia company that is less expensive than a magnetic resonance imaging scans, and provides doctors and patients with faster results.
McMillan, chief of orthopedics at Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, is among the first doctors in the region and the first in South Jersey using Trice Medical’s mi-eye™ instrument to diagnose knee injuries.
“Not everybody can get an MRI,” he said, from his office at LourdesCare at Cherry Hill. “This gives us a chance to open our doors to patients who, in the past, we’d have to say, ‘There is nothing I can do for you.’”
mi-eye™ is a fully disposable, single-use, streamlined visualization device that uses a standard 14-gauge needle with an integrated camera and light source that will allow doctors to perform diagnostic arthroscopies in their office during an initial consultation with a patient.
McMillan said the mi-eye — which produces real-time results — can eliminate the need for a patient to make an appointment for an MRI at another site, have the test done, and then wait for the results to be read and sent back to the orthopedic surgeon. “When patients comes to us, they want answers as soon as possible,” he said. ‘Using mi-eye we can diagnose injuries immediately and set up a treatment plan, or a surgery date, sooner.”
The device is also an alternative diagnostic tool in cases where an MRI can’t be used, such as when a patient has a pacemaker or metal implant in his or her body, or for claustrophobic patients who won’t consent to an MRI.
The product, which Trice sells to doctors’ offices for $495, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014.
Jeff O’Donnell, CEO of King of Prussia-based Trice, said the company initially introduced the product with a limited launch at 10 centers to get feedback from select orthopedic surgeons. The local sites selected were the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, Main Line Orthopedics and Lourdes Health.
“We wanted to see what they thought about the picture quality, how it felt in their hand,” O’Donnell said. “We ended up making the picture better and the focusing easier.” Trice is planning a national product launch for later this year.
McMillan is working with Trice on its next generation mi-eye, which O’Donnell said will provide wider angles, higher definition images and the ability to capture images on video. “Patients today like to get video,” McMillan said.
To date, McMillan has performed about 20 diagnostic procedures using the mi-eye — the availability of which he promotes on his Facebook page.
One patient was Amanda Butler, 36, of Sicklerville, Camden County who had surgery years ago after tearing both her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in a horseback riding accident. She went to see McMillan earlier this year after her knee kept locking up. Eager for a fast diagnosis, she consented to an exam with the mi-eye.
“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 was so bad that Dr. McMillan commented that he didn’t know how I was walking.”
Butler successfully underwent surgery followed by physical therapy, and now no longer needs any support to walk.
John George covers health care, biotech/pharmaceuticals and sports business.