Tag Archives: Cartilage

Stick-Assisted Perambulation Thanks To Surgical Intervention

There has got to be a better way of getting a close shave on my right knee.

Right now, the area above and below my knee is a baby-skin smooth surface, with only the slightest of stubble beginning to poke its way through. It’s also a swollen mess, but I guess I can’t get one without the other.

The other day, I went in to have what turns out to be my fifth knee surgery on the same knee. I recently added up the number of times I’ve gone under the knife and it’s appallingly high, especially for such a healthy-seeming dude.

I strutted into the out-patient surgery center this time so an orthopedist could do some carving and smoothing on both my lateral and medial meniscus. The meniscus is the shock-absorbing cartilage that prevents bone from bumping up against bone.

During the 20 years or so since my last knee surgery, I’d managed to do some more damage to the meniscus on both sides of my knee. I’m sure it was something that happened over time and in no way was influenced by my decision to learn snowboarding this past March with Hyper Lad.

Definitely no connection. Just can’t be.

Regardless of cause, I needed to go in and have the damage remediated so I could start walking without (as much) pain because, let me tell you, dudes, that’s getting to be a real pain in my fundament, as well as the knee.

So I’m back in the pre surgical waiting room and the nurse comes to prepare me by plugging in an IV and then whipping out the electric razor. Knowing what was coming, I just stretched out and relaxed while she got to work.

It’s become a depressingly familiar ritual, during which I lose all the hair around an op site and then have to tape my hands to my sides so I don’t scratch the wound open as the hair begins itching its way back to full length.

I decided that I’d go through this surgery with only a regional anesthetic as I’d been knocked out more than enough times already. Relatively speaking, I was somewhat clear mentally after the surgery (although maybe slightly loopy) so that was good.

However, the aftereffects of being chemically paralyzed from just above my waist on down was. . . strange. Looking down at my legs and seeing them there, but not being able to move them or even feel when someone touches them is an odd situation in which to find myself.

No sensation and no control. Post-surgery, the nurse tried to move me to a recliner as fast as possible so they could reuse the bed, so she tried to lever me off even though I told her I wasn’t ready.

She assured me my leg would support my weight and then swung both legs off the bed. I managed to stand for less than a second before collapsing over on her. Fortunately, a second nurse was there to catch us both and put me back onto the bed for more recovery time.

So, eventually, I was released and went home to relearn how to get around on crutches. I recovered enough to quickly move from crutches to a cane and that’s where things stand now.

No pun intended.

Still in pain, but getting better. Looking forward to the pain going away.

Now all I have to do is keep myself from scratching my knee raw from all the itchy hair growing back.

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Freaky Friday: An Armful Of Ear

by Richard

Losing a body part, dude. . . That’s tough. It’s not like losing some hair or a nail. That stuff grows back. But as soon as you get to stuff that can generously be called parts — teeth, eyes, organs, limbs — that’s when the limits of nature’s regenerative bonus ends.

Well, for primates, anyway. Just ask Curt Connors about how well taking after the lizards goes for you when you try to regrow an arm.

Still, scientists have found a way to do Dr. Connors one better. They’ve managed to begin growing replacement parts for humans in a way that doesn’t leave the subject as a slavering, aggressive hybrid of man and lizard, with a thirst for mutated spider blood.

Sherrie Walters lost her ear to cancer. A fast-growing basal cell cancer in her left ear forced doctors to remove it in 2008, along with part of her skull and ear canal. Now, though, she’s got it back.

In a groundbreaking and complicated set of surgeries, Johns Hopkins doctors have attached a new ear made from Walters’ own tissue.

The cool part about this is how doctors kept the nascent ear growing and healthy.

“I thought of this exact strategy many years before and really was looking for the right patient to try it on,” said renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Patrick Byrne.

Byrne used cartilage from Walters’ ribs to stitch together a new ear matching her right ear. He then implanted it under the skin of her forearm, where it grew for months.

“We started making jokes just to try to get used to it and I was like, `Can you hear me? Can you hear me?’ said Sherrie’s husband, Damien.

 Byrne later surgically attached the ear and its blood vessels. Following that surgery, doctors went in again to shape the ear so it looked like Walters’ other ear.
Tell me this wasn’t cool.
Every time I think we’re facing an abomination of science and we’re going to need to get out the pitchforks and the torches, along comes something like this that renews my faith in the ability of mankind to muck around with things that are better left alone. And it actually works.
There are some things that man was not meant to know. Apparently, growing an ear on someone’s arm wasn’t one of those things.


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