Dead Mike Left Knee Tendon Replacement
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I got treated like a prince this time and I got to wear the silver crown and robe.  Actually they are mylarized to retain heat.

And so it begins... again.  By now you'd think that I know the name of everyone at Hermann hospital.  Well, except for one person, Joey, in the surgery pre-op, I've yet to run into the same nurse twice.  Houston is the fourth largest city in the USA, and Hermann is a very big hospital servicing many patients.

Still, Hermann hospital has some of the best doctors in the world.  It's quite a system, the medical center in Houston.  I'm not certain about it, but I get the idea that if you are a good doctor, then you can operate at any of the big hospitals.  In this case, my world reknowned oral surgeon Dr. Helfrick recommended Dr. Thomas Clanton.   I didn't know about Dr. Clanton at first, but in the process of transferring paperwork from the old orthopaedics to him, I read reports and saw that Dr. Clanton originally operated on my right foot the first time my knees were reconstructed.

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See the screws sticking up?  Ouch!  Note the scar on top (lesion from femur rupturing skin) and along the side (surgery). outside left knee

After several visits and the transfer of a stack of x-rays and reports, Dr. Clanton and I determined the course of treatment : to remove the hardware and replace the patellar tendon with an achilles tendon from a cadaver.  Looking back on it, I'm a bit concerned about my decision.  Right now I only have 30 degrees of movement in my left leg; it's extremely tight.

I'm concerned I won't get at least 90 degrees, which would allow me to sit down ok and function more normally.  We shall see.  I'm on a CPM machine, Continuous Passive Motion, which bends my knee back and forth for a controllable amount of degrees.   Once I get the go ahead, I can crank up the machine and try to stretch my muscle out.  The tendon is not going to stretch much, if any.  After my previous knee operations, I had similar restrictions and managed to get around 115 degrees out of both legs.

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And from the iside of the left knee we see that my kneecap is sitting up on my thigh!

You can see in the photos that the hardware holding my left kneecap together sticks out all over the place.  And, yes, it was as painful as it looks.  The screws were pointed with three tiny razor sharp prongs which can bite in and self tap into bone.   Now imagine moving your knee and having that poke you from the inside!  Ouch!   Too boot, I also had some wire in there and the ends were simply twisted together.   That was poking me too!

The screws were pointed with three tiny razor sharp prongs...

And, I can definitely say that changes in weather were felt in the plates and screws holding my knee together; resulting in very stiff knees.  After a few days of going from hot to cold, or vice versa my knees seem to loosen up.  I can still hear a fellow skydiver I met in Quincy, who's name I can't recall emphatically telling me, "Get all the hardware out!  It will hurt like hell!  Don't let them tell you it can't come out."  Needless-to-say, I really looked forward to this surgery.

So, on December 9, 1998 I went in for my christmas surgery, an early present.  In actuality, if I am to get back to work any time soon, I have to get my surgeries over with as soon a possible, so time of year isn't as important as overall timing.

Before we set out let me say how excited Dr. Clanton, his staff and Dr. Lou were to be taking pictures for me.  I guess every artist likes to have their masterpieces captured for all to see.  Thanks to them for their cooperation and excellent photography.

One last note: the pictures are taken in order showing the steps they took.  I'd say they took one just about every 1/2 hour, since the total surgery time was about 7 hours.  Enjoy them as much as I have!   ;^)

All photos taken using a Kodak DC25 digital camera.