Twenty years ago, at the age of 46, I was told that I needed a total knee replacement. At the time, I was managing my busy orthodontic practice, coaching Little League baseball, and raising a young family. The news was devastating. As I traveled the country seeking other opinions, I became accustomed to hearing the same dire descriptions of my knee’s poor prognosis. It wasn’t until I met Dr. Tom Minas that I began to regain a sense of hope and optimism.
I had suffered a rare complication of routine knee arthroscopy. A long-time runner, I had felt a pinch in my knee after a long run, and I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus. A few weeks later, I had a 15-minute knee ‘scope’ and was told to return to normal activities within a few days. But the pain and swelling persisted and subsequent x-rays revealed that I had developed avascular necrosis of my femoral condyle. The blood supply of my thigh bone had somehow been compromised during the surgery and now I was limping on a progressively deteriorating knee. The only option seemed to be surgical removal of the necrotic area and prosthetic joint replacement.
Fortunately, one of my orthopedic surgeon friends referred me to Dr. Minas. At the time he was seeing patients at his Cartilage Repair Center at The Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Minas introduced me to the concept of biologic joint preservation and cartilage repair. In 2001 I had an A.C.I. procedure (autologous chondrocyte implantation) along with a High Tibial Osteotomy.
The post-operative physical therapy was at times challenging, but I was soon able to return to an active lifestyle which included hiking, cycling, and swimming. Most importantly, my knee was no longer a limiting, defining factor in my life.
I also discovered that although Dr. Minas is a world-class expert in the field of joint preservation, in person, he behaves more like a small-town doctor. He always took the time to listen to my questions and concerns and he has surrounded himself with wonderful, compassionate people.
Since my initial surgery, I have had a few more procedures, and that’s the nature of joint preservation. The process requires careful monitoring and realistic expectations. But by choosing an option other than total knee replacement, I extended the life of my biologic joint and I’m living proof that this treatment approach is remarkably valuable.
Now, 20 years after my initial injury, I am so grateful to Dr. Minas and his exceptional staff. As a Florida resident, I was thrilled to hear of his recent move to the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach. But the truth is that I would willing to travel to see him regardless of his practice location, and I’m sure that most of his patients feel the same way. Thank you, Dr. Minas!