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age 44, Curtis Taylor didn't know what to do about his knee.
He'd injured it years before playing football, and now it
had an unfortunate tendency to pop painfully out of place,
often while he was driving. Taylor would have to stop the
car, get out and stand there until the knee slid back into
place. Surgery hadn't fixed the problem, and an artificial
knee wasn't an option for younger patients like him. These
devices have to be replaced every 10-15 years, each time with
more complex surgery because of the repeated cutting of bone.
"It was either live with it or have something else done,"
Taylor says. Unfortunately, there was nothing else.
while driving one day in June 2002, Taylor turned on the radio
and heard orthopedic surgeon Marc Hungerford being interviewed
about a device, called the Uni-Spacer, that he portrayed as
an alternative to knee replacement. Hungerford described it
as a chrome, dishlike device that floats in the space between
the two main bones in the knee, stretching damaged ligaments
back to their normal position, and providing a smooth surface
on which the bones in the knee can glide painlessly. The procedure
required only a 3-inch incision, through which to remove arthritic
cartilage and smooth bony surfaces before inserting the device.
Existing bone wouldn't have to be cut, so future knee-replacement
surgery wouldn't be compromised.
had heard enough. He contacted Hungerford and a month later
had the device implanted. Today, his knee has stopped popping,
and this young father of four can at last romp with his boisterous
bunch. He's also back playing sports, for the first time in
years. For more information or referrals: 410-955-6467 (ext.
Great Pain Debate
-- A new class of drugs have been developed for the treatment
of the pain associated with arthritis. These drugs are called
COX-II inhibitors. They appear to be effective in pain relief
while having fewer side effects than many other pain relievers
available today (such as aspirin & ibuprofin). In the
December 14, 1998 issue of Time Magazine, COX-II
inhibitors are discussed. If you are interested in additional
HERE to be linked to
a web article written by Joan M. Bathon, M.D. of the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine.
should recover fully from knee surgery
March 14, 1997
posted at: 7:17 p.m. EST (0017 GMT)
-- President Clinton is expected to recover fully from knee
surgery, although he will need a brace and crutches for several
weeks, and he'll have to undergo careful rehabilitation.
50-year-old Clinton caught his heel on a step at the Florida
estate of Australian golfer Greg Norman early Friday, tearing
the quadriceps tendon connecting the kneecap to the muscle
of the upper thigh in his right leg.
injury is common, especially in sports, and about 7,000 people
a year in the United States are hospitalized by it.
who examined the president say more than 50 percent of his
tendon was torn, but it was not completely severed.
heard a very loud pop'
major muscles that descend from the thigh come together at
the quadriceps tendon, which connects to the kneecap then
extends below that to the top of the lower leg.
function of the muscles and tendon is to straighten out the
leg with each stride, and they are essential to normal walking
or jogging. When going down steps, as the president was doing,
the muscles may be subjected to force equivalent to three
times a person's body weight, doctors say.
Clinton stumbled, the sudden muscle contraction as he tried
to catch himself likely overloaded the tendon. "He heard
a very loud pop," one aide said.
time can vary
said the surgery to repair such a tendon tear is common and
good surgeon can do the job in just a half hour or so,"
said Dr. Kenneth Fine, director of the George Washington University
sports medicine center. "It is not very complicated."
number of sutures allow it to heal," orthopedic surgeon
Dr. Drew Miller added. In the president's case, the surgery
lasted two hours.
had a "regional" anesthetic that numbed him approximately
from the mid-section down, so that he was never rendered unconscious,
White House spokesman Mike McCurry said. Doctors said he was
alert most of the time.
tendon is repaired by drilling holes into the top of the kneecap
and attaching the tendon to the bone with thread or wire anchored
in the holes. The leg is then put into a cast or brace to keep
it perfectly straight, to put the least amount of pressure on
injuries by the numbers
5 million people visit orthopedic surgeons in the United
States each year because of knee problems.
than 3 million of the visits are injury-related; the
rest are due to arthritis or other illnesses.
1.4 million people go to the hospital emergency room
for knee problems.
7,000 hospital visits are recorded each year for torn
quadriceps tendon, and 25 percent of those patients
were 45-64 years of age.
1994, there were more than 300,000 knee procedures done
in the United States.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
should be out of the hospital in a few days and will be able
to get around using crutches and a knee brace. Rehabilitation
will begin with range-of-motion exercises.
exercises will be slowly added to gradually rebuild muscle
strength. Middle-age people typically recover fully, although
in older patients it is not uncommon for there to be a residual
stiffness in the knee.
could be 12 weeks before a person is back jogging again,"
Andrew Holtz contributed to this report.