PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It doesn’t take a whole lot of time to get a good handle on why Clarence Dietrich is so happy to share his story.

“I could hardly sleep at night,” said Dietrich. “I am looking forward to doing a lot more things around here now.”

You can see it in his x-rays. There are large bone spurs and his cartilage is very thin and narrowed.

All of it is proof of arthritis and one bad left knee – Dietrich’s knee at least as of last October.

His surgeon, Dr. John Xenos, recommended a Legion Total Knee, but some doctors are giving it another name: the “30 year knee.”

“The knee is going to last a lot longer than I am!” exclaimed Dietrich. “To have a knee that could possibly last your lifetime, that’s a huge relief.”

Most replacement knees last only 15 years, leaving patients like Dietrich with the possibility of multiple replacements. The Legion Total Knee System is built with a metal alloy called oxinium.

It takes twice as long to wear out as a traditional replacement.

“Clinically, that hasn’t born out to be true yet because this knee hasn’t been out for 30 years,” said Dr. Xenos. “But if volumetric wear, which is what we’re talking about, is any indication, you’d expect these knees to last a lot longer.”

This means Dietrich should never need another knee replacement on his left knee again. It is an opportunity to devote more time to what matters most.

“I have a responsibility to my wife to take care of her,” he said.

And for the half million Americans with knee replacements every year, it could add a little more life to what keeps them moving.

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