SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana, who's been living for years with chronic pain, underwent a state of the art procedure on Wednesday in San Jose.
For once, Montana was actually excited to be back in an operating room. Over the years, he's undergone more than 25 surgeries on his neck, shoulder and knee. But it's his left knee that has really been bothering him.
"I'm so glad you all look as idiotic as me," he joked before the operation began.
He had three small wires, no larger than a strand of angel hair pasta, inserted under his skin, right by the nerves.
"If this was another major surgical process, I probably would've said no. But I really think this is going to be the answer to my knee and I'm looking forward to an hour or two from now when I get done," he laughed.
The procedure is called Stimwave and Montana recently signed on as a company spokesperson. Each wire carries a computer chip that is the fraction of the size of a grain of rice.
A pad is then placed over the pain area and is attached to a controller. The entire operation is controlled with a smartphone.
"Basically what this is doing is sending an electrical pulse to your nerve to tell your brain to shut off the signal that's giving you pain," explained Laura Perryman, who invented Stimwave.
Dr. Sloane Yu with the Allied Pain and Spine Institute was on the team of doctors putting in the implant. The Broncos fan says Stimwave should help keep patients off addictive pain killers.
"This is not just something for Joe Montana. This is covered by Medicare, covered by most commercial insurances. Because people and insurance know that if we can get patients off their meds, stop seeing their doctor, prevent surgeries, overall everyone is saving money and everyone is winning," Yu said.
The procedure was over after two and a half hours. After the swelling goes down, Montana believes it should feel better than winning another Super Bowl.
"It's just like anything. What's good for me is not always what's good for you, right? Everyone should do their own research on it. But I wouldn't be doing this and moving forward with it if I didn't believe it wasn't something that could help people," Montana said.
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