Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To knee or not to knee...

My knee. He is a curious little bugger. I am looking ahead to another surgery in hopes of relieving the chronic pain I am in. A little history. I believe my initial cartilage damage was due to over exertion during my younger years. Making some bad choices like “bad karate”. Never the less in Jan of 2005 I went in for arthroscopic surgery were they performed a microfracture surgery to try and repair the damaged cartilage. In microfracture the surgeon uses a small pointed tool called an awl to make very small holes called microfractures (tiny breaks) in the bone near the damaged cartilage. The holes the surgeon makes in your bone release the cells in your bones that build new cartilage. Your body then builds a new type of fake cartilage to replace the damaged cartilage. While in there my Dr. also biopsied chondrocytes cartilage in case I would need a further surgery.

Well the microfracture did not work so it was on to step 2. In Sept of 2005 I went into Surgery and had a Autologus chrondocyte implant. This was a new way to help restore the structural makeup of the articular cartilage My cells had already been growing in a lab so now it was just having them implanted. During this surgery the surgeon implants the newly grown cartilage into the lesion and covers it with a small flap of tissue taken from the shin bone. The cover holds the cells in place while they attach themselves to the surrounding cartilage and begin to heal.

So 6 years later .. epic fail. Third time is a charm. I am onto the next procedure. Osteochondral allograft transplantation. In this procedure, bone and the attached cartilage from an organ donor is transplanted to repair cartilage damage. The osteochondral allograft procedure is mostly used after other surgeries have failed. One of the problems with this kind of procedure is the limited supply of donor tissue. Even though there are technical difficulties with this type of surgery, the success rate is generally high. This procedure usually involves placing rather large pieces of cartilage and bone in the joint. The allograft is usually held in place with metal screws or pins.

Sounds like a good time! So now I wait. I wait for the call that they have found a donor for me. I then have ten days to have my surgery. Just doesn’t seem fair for the donor or for me.

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