Award-Winning Research Proves Value of Time-Tested Drug at the Virtua Joint Replacement Institute

A team of Orthopedic physicians at the Virtua Joint Replacement Institute (JRI) has won a national award for research that shows a tried-and-true drug to be just as good at relieving pain as a new drug that is 25 times more expensive.

The six-person team, whose work could result in considerable savings for patients and healthcare providers alike, found that the traditional drug decreased pain after knee replacement surgery at a cost of about $16, well below the cost of $402 per dose of the new drug.

The study earned the Clinical Research Award on November 7 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons in Dallas, Texas, the largest meeting of joint replacement specialists in the world. Among the nearly 1,300 studies that were submitted across the U.S. and Europe, only about 60 were recognized, and only three were spotlighted for their outstanding contributions to research.

“We are really are excited to see the Virtua JRI submission because they know how hard it is to complete these studies with limited resources and compete with the large institutions,” said Craig J. Della Valle, MD, education chair of the AAHKS and an abstract reviewer.

“For Virtua to be awarded at this internationally-recognized event speaks to our dedication to science,” said Dr. Rajesh Jain, lead author of the study. “The awards at this meeting are more commonly given to large institutions that have a lot of research funding, such as university hospitals or tertiary care centers.”

“Our team is continually looking to do more clinical research because it helps shape what future healthcare will be.”

The study—funded by donations to Virtua Foundation—focused on 207 patients at JRI  who earlier this year had undergone total knee replacement for chronic forms of arthritis. The team of physicians—five of whom are surgeons with fellowship training—used two types of drugs to ease pain after surgery.

The JRI team injected a traditional Novocaine-type drug directly into the knee joints of some patients while other patients received a new, local anesthetic—intended to last up to 72 hours—into the area surrounding the knee joint.

Both drugs worked well. The traditional drug, however, cost much less.

“This study exemplifies how Virtua continues to provide the best quality and most cost-effective care,” said Dr. John Matsinger, chief clinical officer at Virtua. “The JRI team found that reducing and managing pain after knee replacement is possible with a medication that is both affordable and effective.”

Pain relief is especially important because patients in severe pain recover more slowly from surgery. More pain also can mean more complications, as well as longer, more expensive stays in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.

“In the current era of medicine, value-based care is being sought out as the defining outcome. Value is a combination of quality of care, including outcomes, and cost,” Jain wrote in the study.

Dr. Jain, who serves as the Orthopedic Section Chief, co-authored the study with Scott D. Schoifet, MD, medical director for joint replacement services; Manny D. Porat, MD, specialist in minimally invasive total hip and knee replacement; Gregory G. Klingenstein, MD, specialist in joint replacement as well as the treatment of hip pain in adolescents and young adults; Jeremy J. Reid, MD, specialist in complex joint reconstruction and replacement; and Robert E. Post, MD, a family doctor.

The award for clinical research is given in recognition of an outstanding clinical paper in the field of hip and knee replacement, or arthroplasty.

The Virtua Joint Replacement Institute in South Jersey is a leader in minimally invasive, quad-sparing total knee replacement surgery and minimally invasive hip replacement.


About Virtua

As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, two ambulatory care centers, three fitness centers, three acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with 287 physicians plus 87 additional practitioners, urgent care centers, 11 ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Medicine. Virtua employs more than 8,700 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit or

About the AAHKS Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons addresses a broad array of scientific topics such as implant design, outcomes, surgical techniques and complications of primary and revision total joint arthroplasty (TJA) for hip and knee surgeons. The meeting addresses the latest socioeconomic issues in health care. Special courses are also offered for residents, non-physician team members and hospital administrators. Held in Dallas in November each year, the Annual Meeting attracts more than 2,300 attendees.