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Joseph Braun

Park Ridge, NJ
  • Joseph Braun in the photo 1

In February 2023 I had a freak fall at home and could not lift my left leg. EMTs and a local urgent care diagnosed a completely ruptured quadriceps tendon. This was my first venture into the orthopedic world. I opted for a referral to a surgeon at a well-known orthopedic establishment just across the road. The tendon was reattached a few days later in a local hospital’s outpatient center. With mobility somewhat limited after three months, the same surgeon did a manipulation under anesthesia plus lysis of adhesion. Rather than the promised increase in mobility, I had lingering, severe edema that also made the prescribed “aggressive” physical therapy quite difficult. In early July, in PT my knee gave off a loud “rip” sound during a gentle flexion. On the phone, my surgeon asked if I could still lift that leg. In response to my affirmation, he concluded that the tendon was still intact. In a subsequent call, his PA cheerily closed with: “See you in two months”. There was no offer of an in-person exam. In retrospect: pretty deplorable.

I was eager for a total change of medical systems. A neighbor educated me that HSS had a satellite clinic in Paramus, NJ. Dr. Gregory DiFelice at HSS examined me. An immediate, on-site MRI confirmed that the tendon had indeed detached again. Dr. DiFelice did the surgical revision. Recovery was fast. Edema was minimal. Dr. DiFelice took hours for the complex revision, doing a special procedure to lengthen the tendon with cutting edge collagen implants to support the tissue. Dr. DiFelice warned me that the previous procedures had left me with so much scar tissue that he could not guarantee mobility above 80-90 degrees of rotation. With PT at HSS, however, I was able to gain mobility back to 100 degrees and regain leg strength.

What I want to convey to any reader of my story is the scary difference I experienced between two different health care systems within the very same geographical area. At EVERY level and in EVERY aspect of services and treatment HSS was so superior! One example: after my first reattachment of the tendon, the surgeon proudly told me: “I did it 30 minutes; I work fast!” That was neither comforting nor impressive. It really matters where you go the first time for a medical problem. Choose wisely – even in the middle of an emergency, where we all can tend to freeze and not see options before us.

For orthopedics, I unconditionally recommend starting at HSS. I am now back hiking at age 82, able to traverse even the challenging trails in my favorite state park. My surgeon, Dr. DiFelice, and my physical therapist, Joe Capogrosso, have given me the priceless gift of a return to my mobility after six months of living with the limitations of a leg brace and fears of significant incapacity. That combination of personal and systemic levels of professionalism and of refined technique is why I am now hiking miles with a 20-pound pack!

Every day, I silently thank these two providers, their impressive ancillary staff, and the entire HSS system.