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Author Topic: Six years post-op ACI & meniscal transplant  (Read 3051 times)

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Six years post-op ACI & meniscal transplant
« on: August 02, 2003, 09:03:27 AM »
Was skiiing in the Sierra Nevada on Easter Sunday (March 31), 1975 -- landed in a heap after spending the bulk of the day trying to forget my water skiing technique and trying to learn how to snow ski on a warm spring day.  Made it down the mountain and called it a day.  Next morning, had a knee the size of a football.  Saw a co-worker's knee doc on an emergency basis who told me to take a cab to the hospital from his office.  Admitted myself (without even a toothbrush!) and had a 'procedure' done the following morning.  With my very loose ligaments, they decided nothing more was going on than 'an internal derangement'.  Not even sure they use those terms anymore..  Woke up with a plaster cast from top of hip to ankle.  Such fun!

Once the cast was off, tripped, fell on bad knee, landing myself back in doc's office.  NOW, he says, we have something to fix!  They found a classic bucket handle tear of the left medial meniscus.  So... they took the entire thing out!

Fast forward to 1997.  After several 'spring cleanings' (scopes), the last one just didn't end the ouch, ouch, ouch of walking, saw the doc and told him to fix it.  "I can't", he said.  "If you guys can clone sheep, you can fix my knee", I said.  He referred me to a wonderful doc in San Francisco who, he said, "CAN" ...  made the appointment and took along my video of the latest scope.

The US Food & Drug Admin (FDA) had just approved the procedure the new doc recommended in April, 1997.  I had the ACI and meniscal transplant done in two steps -- the harvest of the articulate cartilege cells in May, and the implant and cadaver meniscus transplant performed six weeks later.  No weight bearing for approximately nine weeks.  Had to learn how to walk again from the beginning...

Six months of intensive rehab later, I could run (check it out, RUN!) up and down stairs with no pain -- for the first time in over 23 years!  My doc said I could ski again!  (Not that I will, fear had set in by then!)  I was lucky -- no arthritis had set in after the original trauma back in 1975.

I am now more than six years post surgery.  Have talked to other potential candidates of this combined procedure and would be pleased to share my experience with anyone who faces this.  


  • MICROgeek (<20 posts)
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Re: Six years post-op ACI & meniscal transplan
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2003, 02:08:13 PM »
    It's good to know that severe knee problems can be sorted out. I am in the early stages of knee problems. I was a professional soccer player for ten years and in this period had three medial meniscus tears to my left knee. After my last operation my sergeon advised me to stop playing as I had developed a 2cm diameter defect on the medial side of my thigh bone at the knee. I was made aware of ACI and spoke with a specialist in this field. He stated that as I was only suffering minor pain, such an operation was not necessary as the risks outweighed the benefits. My knee does hurt and I do have concerns about doing nothing as I am aware that my knee is wearing out. I have a horrible decision to make. Do I leave the knee alone for as long as possible but risk damaging it beyond repair, or do I go for a meniscus transplant and ACI whilst the knee is in relatively good shape and stands a better chance of a total recovery? Please help.                                                    Tim.