Mi Eye: Treating joint problems without MRI

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A mainstay of medicine may have a rival and it's helping people with joint problems get treated faster. (WPVI)

A mainstay of medicine may have a rival and it's helping people with joint problems get treated faster.

Amanda Butler's long run of knee problems came to a head last year when it began locking up every day.

"It wouldn't bend, it would just stay locked when I walked," Butler said.

When the Sicklerville, NJ resident was referred to Dr. Sean McMillan of Lourdes Health, she was nervous he'd want an MRI to see inside her knee.

"I'm claustrophobic so having to go through another MRI, I didn't want to do," Butler said.

But instead, he suggested using a new imaging tool called Mi Eye. It's an arthroscope he can use in the office.

It has an ultra-thin lighted probe that looks inside joints for signs of wear.

"It gives us a real-time image of the cartilage," McMillan said.

Dr. McMillan says it cuts the time it typically takes to get a diagnosis using MRI by two to three weeks, and several appointments.

With Mi Eye, in just about five minutes, he could spot the problem.

80-percent of Amanda's meniscus was torn.

And he says that injury might not have shown up on an MRI anyway due to previous knee surgery.

Although he's used Mi Eye mostly for knees and shoulders, Dr. McMillan says it's also useful for elbows, ankles, and sometimes the hip.

After surgery in February to remove damaged cartilage, Amanda is back to hiking.

The skin is numbed before the Mi Eye is inserted, but Dr. McMillan says once it's in the joint, patients don't feel it.

The risk for infection is very small.
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