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Steve Niss

Westport, CT
  • Steve Niss in the photo 1

I first experienced back pain in 1971 at the age of 26. I was finally diagnosed with melorheostosis in 1977, which manifested itself with extreme pain in my right hip through my right lower leg. In 1987, I was referred to Dr. Joseph Lane at HSS, one of the very few orthopedic surgeons who even knew of melorheostosis. Dr. Lane has been my primary doctor at HSS for my disease and related orthopedic issues for the past 30 years and his care and treatment has made a huge difference in the quality of my life. Many years ago, Dr. Lane brought Dr. Linda Russell into my circle of care and she has also been fabulous. Melorheostosis usually presents itself in your long bones and my disease is present in my right hip bone through my leg bones of my entire right leg. There are also calcium deposits in the soft tissue of my right hip and my right knee. Dr. Lane replaced my right hip in 2006, but was very concerned because there had been little history of this procedure with my disease. He sent the diseased hip to NIH for research and the hip replacement was successful. In 2011, as a result of the uneven wear, Dr. Lane successfully replaced my left hip. Over the years, my right knee would lock up and swell with extreme pain. Dr. Russell has always been available on short notice to drain my knee and provide a cortisone shot that significantly reduced the swelling and pain. I see Dr. Lane and Dr. Russell on a regular basis to monitor my disease and medications and they coordinate with other HSS doctors, as required, on the various issues that have resulted from my disease. Over the past ten years, the impact of the melorheostosis has resulted in severe spine issues that include scoliosis, spinal stenosis and severe sciatic nerve involvement. Dr. Peter Moley has been extremely helpful in addressing lower back spinal stenosis issues through targeted steroid injections that have provided significant relief. In 2014, I tore my right triceps tendon and Dr. Robert Hotchkiss successfully performed that surgical repair, returning full functionality to my right arm. It was also soon discovered that I had severe arthritis in my right mid-foot that had also caused a stress fracture. Dr. Scott Ellis treated me and my foot is now healed. Also in 1990, just prior to becoming the Mets team physician, Dr. David Altchek repaired and restored my right rotator cuff to full functionality. In early 2014, I began to experience severe sciatic nerve pain on my left side, which also severely limited my ability to walk more than a block or sleep more than a couple of hours. I am very happy to report that six weeks ago (March 24, 2017), Dr. James Farmer performed surgery on my spine, decompressing my S5 area throughout all L levels. My sciatic nerve pain has disappeared, I am able to sleep most of the night and I am already walking over a mile without discomfort. Yes, another miracle by my wonderful team at HSS! For over thirty years, Dr. Lane, with Dr. Russell, most recently Dr. Farmer and those mentioned above have enabled me to have the quality of life I enjoy today at the age of 72. Thank you all for your expertise and dedication and the kind way you and your teams all work with your patients.