GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A local orthopedic surgeon is going above and beyond when it comes to improving patient care.
While working full-time as an orthopedic surgeon and running his own organic farm in Door County, Door Karma Farms, there’s one more passion he finds time for: bettering the lives of his patients through medical device inventions.
Dr. Robert Limoni, with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic, has been in the industry for 20 years. He is originally from Manitowoc.
“We fix things with power tools, saws and things like that. We have to put things together that are broken,” said Dr. Limoni. “Some people consider us the human carpenters.”
But through those years, he's noticed some medical devices that can be improved in and out of the operating room.
“We all have ideas. I don't think that having an idea is anything special,” said Dr. Limoni. “What's difficult is to take an idea, to have it manufactured, to protect your intellectual property and to have a product to sell. There's a whole lot of steps there, and doctors don't have time for that.”
Dr. Limoni said it’s even discouraged sometimes.
“In fact, the government puts websites out to try to publicly disclose anything we make money off other than doing surgery, so most doctors are really discouraged from innovation.”
But Dr. Limoni said it’s important to push through for the patients. He got his inspiration from a surveyor in Green Bay whose daughter got a blood clot.
“He whittled a peddler thing out of a piece of wood and it turned into a device and patent, and I thought, ‘Boy, this is really cool.’ So, since that day I’ve been inspired to look at things differently,” said Dr. Limoni.
Dr. Limoni is part of a few companies in Wisconsin that use local material to make new medical products.
“We have such broad access to machinists and plastics companies and everything that is needed to engineer a surgical device or product,” said Dr. Limoni.
Outside of surgery, Dr. Limoni has teamed up with designers and engineers to develop ‘Walker Ball’s' for the bottom of a walker. They are dishwasher safe, glow in the dark and don’t carry around bacteria. Dr. Limoni said the usual go-to, tennis balls, are absorbent and can carry bacteria throughout nursing homes.
Dr. Limoni has also designed cane and walker tips that mimic how the human foot works, while keeping Wisconsin weather in mind.
“We made a tire tread on the bottom that will allow the water to expand,” said Dr. Limoni.
He’s also helped a Green Bay surveyor get to market the "Peddler" which helps prevent blood clots.
“I consider it a toothpick for the foot,” said Dr. Limoni. “Patients after surgery just put their feet on it, rock it back and forth, and that keeps your blood circulating in your legs.”
Inside the operating room, Dr. Limoni noticed some other challenges when it came to device cleanliness.
Dr. Limoni walked Action 2 News through a video that shows a surgery device called a "total knee positioner" being cut open. It’s a device that holds the knee in place during surgery and has been used since the 1970’s. However, when the device is cut open, you can see dried blood and other particles left behind, which Dr. Limoni said was, "kind of shocking to me."
Dr. Limoni teamed up with an engineer and businessman to create new devices to position legs for knee and hip surgery.
“We’ve sealed everything,” said Dr. Limoni, "so you can clean everything off in between surgeries. You don't have to worry about body fluids or bone organic material getting carried through from one surgery to another when it's been sterilized.”
These inventions are already being used at both BayCare Clinic and Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, but Dr. Limoni is hoping to get them into more hospitals and clinics.
“To make surgery safer for people, ultimately, is what saves money and makes health care affordable into the future,” said Dr. Limoni.
If you would like to look at Dr. Limoni’s patents and inventions, head to https://matchgrademed.com or