Four percent of American adults over the age of 50 are living with a knee replacement, a metal and plastic joint replacing a painful, arthritic joint. Despite the prevalence of the surgery, surgeons are still working on ways to improve it.

Raymond Schmitt spent his career as a letter carrier for the postal service.

“I’m walking like seven hours a day, pounding in and out of the truck,” said Raymond Schmitt, underwent knee replacement.

After decades on his feet, Schmitt felt it in his knees.      

“My legs were always a little bit bowed,” Schmitt added.

Both knees were painful at night. He tried supplements and cortisone shots, but nothing gave him relief. Knee replacement was his remaining option.

“Once the X-rays showed bone on bone arthritis, which is what most of our patients will show, it means there’s no more space – there’s no more rubber on the tires – the bones are touching,” said Dr. Yair Kissin, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Orthopedic specialist Yair Kissin had new knee technology to offer – the persona IQ smart knee – a knee replacement with sensors that transmit motion data. During surgery, the arthritic joint is replaced with a custom-selected plastic and metal replacement and an additional stem that anchors into the remaining bone.

“This is basically a little addition that gives you sort of a Fitbit attached to your implant,” Dr. Kissin added.

The technology gives feedback on a patient’s movement after surgery, including speed and range of motion.

“This technology is based upon pacemaker technology that gets implanted in a person and stays there for 10 to 20 years,” said Dr. Kissin.

The information can help researchers and patients monitor recovery better than ever before.

Schmitt can see the difference in his left knee. He’s looking forward to having his other done and getting back to the activities he loves.