11 YEARS to REPAIR!
My name is Chris Van Houten and I am a New York City Paramedic for 21+ years. In March of 2001, that's correct, 2001, I sustained a partial MCL tear and a complete ACL tear while playing racquetball. In the midst of considering surgical options, I was able to rehab well enough to maintain a "functional ACL tear" and continue performing my duties, which includes carrying patients and equipment up and down multiple flights of stairs in an urban environment, as well as staying physically active with day to day activities such as running (mostly in a straight line), jump, kick, swim, etc.
11 years later, February of 2012, I sustained a lateral strike to the same knee resulting in a bucket handle tear to the meniscus. Unable to straighten my knee, I was forced to research the best orthopedic doctor for my condition. I did. I made an appointment with Dr. Gregory DiFelice. I immediately appreciated his straight shooting, factual approach to my condition. After the MRI, he gave me options. The meniscus procedure was pretty straight forward, but the amazing part came after the realization that after 11 years, my ACL, which had avulsed from the base of my femur, was still perfused, or "alive" within the confines of my knee. I was already aware of the complications and rehabilitation considerations with traditional ACL reconstruction, but Dr. DiFelice felt confident he could "reattach" my ACL! This minimally invasive procedure could reduce the rehabilitation time, and get me "back in the game" as quickly as possible.
May 15, 2012 was "go" time. After Dr. DiFelice's skilled hands were done with his procedure, I made my way out of the hospital on crutches, with a trimmed meniscus, and a reattached ACL (after 11 years). I was committed to diligent rehabilitation, and I let the professional staff at HSS's rehab facility chart my course to recovery. Under the guidance of Leigh Ann Plack, I had full range of motion within two weeks! Leigh Ann had me walking, not hobbling, within a month's time. Other HSS staff members would watch me rehab, amazed at the progress within such a short period of time. I followed up my rehab with a strength training program, under the incredibly skilled guidance of my athletic trainer, also from HSS. This incredible team enabled me to minimize the amount of lost work time, regain all of my strength and then some, and maintain an active lifestyle, inclusive of skiing, running, weight lifting and keeping up with my children.
Few days go by without me singing the praise of my HSS team, miracle workers in scrubs and work out clothing!