Monday, December 24, 2007

Stairway to Heaven

If the Beatles had written Stairway to Heaven this is what you would get.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

ACL primer

I have been remiss in keeping up with my blog, to all my loyal readers I must profusely appoligize.
The reason behind my absence is of course that I had ACL reconstructive surgery. Please follow along with me as I give you the nuts and bolts of the whole thing. Some descriptions may be graphic in nature, so you might want to put down that muffin while reading.

This diagram shows all the parts of the knee that we will be dealing with today. My ACL or anterior crutiate ligament was snapped in half on a ride that happened in mid August. For a recap of that event you can read about it here. The Articular cartilage was nicked and in need of repair. They used a newish technique called micro fractures wherein the surgeon drills tiny holes in the bone hoping that the scar tissue that forms will take the place of the cartilage. Yummy. My lateral meniscus was folded in half and a third of it had to be removed.

That same knee had been repaired back in 01' by the same doc who did it this time. He was particularly proud of the fact that it was the ligament that failed and not his connections. As a side note please find the PCL in the picture. Good, if you snap this ligament they will not repair it. I know this because of a Thanksgiving day football game and a very special Thanksgiving day trip to the ER.

So how do they put a new tendon in? I'm glad you asked, the doctors take what can best be described as a "bone drill" and make a tunnel that they can insert the new tissue thru.

The tendon is then secured at the top and bottom with bone screws and packed with leftover bone chips to aid bone regeneration.

Here is a x-ray showing the screw and upper connection.

So where do the new tendons come from? Another excellent question. The first time I had this done the I had part of my hamstring removed and used for the replacement parts. That was not an option this time so I opted for used parts or "Cadaver donation," in the spirit of good taste I will leave the description at that.

Now that I am post op 4+ weeks I can say that it hasn't been to bad. The rehab has been much better than the first time around