In 2011, I tore the medial meniscus of my right knee and had it repaired at a large New York hospital. Expecting a full recovery in six weeks, what followed was a downward spiral from which I would not recover. Approximately eight months after surgery, a follow up MRI showed end stage osteoarthritis of the medial compartment and partial erosion of the patellofemoral compartment of my right knee. The devastating news erased all hope of a recovery, and I had to accept the fact that I had permanent loss of healthy cartilage on two sides of my knee. To ease the pain, I began injections with Orthovisc and managed fairly well at home and at work. After several injections, however, I realized that I would need a knee replacement in order to function normally.
I did my homework assiduously and dug into the literature on knee replacement. I reasoned that a partial procedure would address my problem without removing healthy God-given tissue. I sought my third surgical opinion from Dr. Edwin Su at Hospital for Special Surgery and asked about partial knee replacement. He listened carefully to my concerns and explained the pros and cons of total versus uni-compartmental replacement for my condition. Although Dr. Su recommended total knee replacement because of damage to two compartments, he agreed to perform the partial procedure.
I do not have enough accolades to describe the professionalism, skill, sensitivity, and clockwork efficiency of the entire Hospital for Special Surgery staff, from nurse assistant to surgeon. In spite of receiving the very best care possible, initially I did not do well. Two days after surgery, I still was unable to get out of bed due to an intolerable level of pain. Concerned about my immobility, I was evaluated by a team of pain management doctors and prescribed a drug that immediately controlled my pain. After that, my recovery took off.
Following discharge from HSS, I rehabbed at home and worked hard to achieve my goal of full functional return. At my three-month follow up visit, Dr. Su and I looked at films of my right knee. Everything was perfect. I can do mostly anything now, and the knee never hurts. Movement is so natural that, aside from the scar, I don't even "know" I had surgery. Although my hospital course started inauspiciously, the end result was brilliant, and I have Dr. Su and the entire HSS staff to thank for that.