Posts Tagged ‘ACL Surgery’

Happy St. Pat’s day to all from “Little Miss Lucky”–that’s me moments after my surgery.

Thanks to massive pain killers and nerve blocks, I don’t really remember most of it. I remember waking up to graham crackers and ginger ale and the nurse directing me to eat the crackers. I just wanted to fall back asleep. My leg was numb, but I could feel the bulky weight of my new reality. Maybe if I could go back to sleep, I could magically awaken to a fully rehabbed and strong ACL? Not the case. That was too much to think about. As the anesthesia slowly wore off, my surgeon came in the room. I felt like I needed to ask him so much, but was first concerned with how I was going to get into my car and leave the hospital; I couldn’t bare to think of life beyond that. Then he said,”Well, the worst part is over. It all gets better from here.”

He was and is right. Once you make the surgical decision to reconstruct your knee, every day from that point on gets better and the only thing you have to do is progress. I know, this sounds contrary to what most of the rest of this blog says. Rehab is not easy, but the great thing is that you have the opportunity each day to “rebuild” your knee and the rest of your body. You become more conscious of movements, body mechanics and proper form. You never take a moment you can move for granted again. Most people will never see life–or their bodies–from that angle. So complain as we do, the whole ACL experience makes us better athletes –and people in the end. Lucky us 🙂

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So far, so good. Today, I walked into work without the aid of crutches! Big win for me.

I can’t believe it was one month ago that I was braced, bandaged and doped on pain meds to ease the excruciating throbs. I’ve come pretty far in my progress. I’ve hit plateaus, got frustrated, thought I was moving backwards, but suddenly and a little slowly, you start waking up one week and the act of moving your braced leg out of bed is a motion you don’t think about. And once you’re on your feet, you don’t even reach for your crutches. Each day, you do get stronger, but it’s not easy. It means a lot of PT, and a lot of self-driven excercises at home. I finally reached a positive week where each day builds on the next. If I can do it, there’s certainly hope for you.

Update from my 2nd Post-op Dr. Appt.:

-No more crutches & I get to ditch the brace next week!

-He also told me the worst was over. And to paraphrase the genuis Dr. Nuber, “Some weeks will be better than others. You’ll have pops, pains and swelling, but this is normal. It’s all a process.”

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I see my surgeon tomorrow for my 2nd post-op visit, so until I get my own ACL news, here’s some recent ACLs in the news:

-“Growing New Knees”? Did you recently tear your ACL? There might be some new hope for you in this video from the local ABC affliate in New York

-76er’s center, Jason Smith tore his ACL last July and is now clear to play in the NBA (Source: @76ers__News via Twitter)

-Seattle Seahawk’s RB, Tyler Roehl had ACL reconstruction surgery performed by Dr. Ed Khalfayan on 6/11.Rehab is 6-8 months. (Source: @seahawksSpin via Twitter

-Dolphins’ reciever Greg Camarillo returns to camp just six months off his ACL surgery. His thoughts on rehab from sun-sentinel.com:


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More pics from my ACL surgery, courtesy of Dr. Nuber’s team at Northwestern Orthopaedics Institute.

When they cut me open to reconstruct my ACL, they found (or didn’t find) my old ACL. Dr. Nuber said it disinegrated.
Picture 1

And here’s the newly constructed and freshly attached ACL.
Picture 2

My friend Katie said it looks like crab meat. My friend Annie says it looks like sushi. What do you think it looks like?

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Happy Friday, everyone!

I slipped out during my lunch hour to get tortured at PT. During wall slides, I could bend at 99 degrees and on the bike I could finally do full revolutions. This is all increasing my pain a little bit. My therapist told me I should start using the vicodin with PT. I’m currently taking Motrin.

Other than that, life is good and I am down to walking around on one crutch around the office, my apt. and while at PT.

It’s been a long-time coming, but check out some of Dr. Nuber’s handy work on stitching up my lateral meniscus. My orginally surgery was ACL reconstruction, but while they were in, they found a this tear and repaired it. Northwestern Orthopaedics Instititute is the best!

Picture 2

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Time again for more grusome, yet wonderfully intriging photos of my still-swollen and semi-scarred knee. (Stay tuned for the pictures of the inside of my knee that I just got from the doctor.)

I often get asked the simple question, “Does your knee hurt?” Of course it does. Pain meds can mask most of it, but when I bend it sometimes, I feel like my stitches will pop right out, even though most of them are gone. The remaining stitches in my leg will dissolve. As of now, I still have two small scars with steri-strips over them waiting to heal. One scar (the major one) is over my patella tendon. I’m predicting it will end up being about 2 inches long. The other is on the right side of my knee. This one is about one inch long. This week I hope to rip all of the steri-strips off, but I know there’s still a bit more healing that needs to take place. But for now, I managed to take two out of the five steri-strips off of my patella tendon scar site. Please ignore the cheesy floor tiles. I take all my own pics.


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I’m nervous. I’m restless. And as of last week, I can’t take any form of Asprin. And starting today at 6 a.m., I won’t be able to consume any alcohol. Not a big deal, except for I’m going to an Argentinian steak house for a last supper with my busted knee. Guess I’ll discover how a chilled glass of water compliments a juicy steak.

Until then, I’ll explain my procedure–Right Knee ACL reconstruction and arthroscopy. Basically, my ACL is completely torn, so I need a new one. With tears, the ACL can be patched up, but with complete tears, the ACL needs to be created from a graft.

There are three graft options for patients: allograft (cadaver ligament), hamstring graft and a patella tendon graft.

Some grafts are more popular than others, but no graft is considered the best solution. My doctor, Gordon Nuber,from the Northwestern Orthopaedic Institute in Chicago, IL, told me that most people opt for the cadaver graft. Honestly, the thought of another person’s ligament inside my kneecap didn’t fly with me–and one of my sister’s friends got an infection from one, which is a risk of the allograft, although not common. Nuber also told me he does not perform hamstring grafts. He realizes people might want it, but in his opinion, the hamstring is too weak. After all, he did author almost 100 orthopaedic publications while reconstructing the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks, Cubs and Da Bears. Sounds like I’m all in for a patella graft.

Wish me luck. (Video from Dr. Bertram Zarins at Mass General Hospital)

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