Rare Meniscus Transplant Performed as Outpatient Surgery in Danbury by Dr. Ross Henshaw, Danbury Orthopedics’ Sports Medicine Specialist
Patient Able to Avoid Long-Term Arthritis and Return to Normal Activities within 6 months
Rare meniscus transplant surgery is now being performed locally as an outpatient procedure by Dr. Ross Henshaw, fellowship-trained knee and shoulder orthopedic surgeon, and specialist in the treatment of sports-related injuries, at The Sports Medicine Center at Danbury Orthopedics. In the past, patients needing this type of rare surgery were required to travel outside the region. Dr. Henshaw is able to perform this surgery, for patients meeting the strict criteria, right here at the new, state-of-the-art Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center at 226 White Street in downtown Danbury.
The benefit of this surgery is to prevent early onset arthritis, which is an inevitable side effect when someone loses his or her meniscus tissue due to an injury. “I am excited to offer this option for my patients who meet the criteria so that they can have the surgery, recover in the comfort of their own home, and receive easily accessible follow up care by their own surgeon,” said Dr. Henshaw.
Dr. Henshaw recently treated a 16-year-old male patient who had no meniscus tissue and was facing significant arthritis by his early 20’s. Dr. Henshaw performed the minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery using regional anesthetic (24 hour nerve block) and monitored sedation. The successful meniscus transplant is a highly specialized procedure and one of the few in the state to be performed on an outpatient basis.
The meniscus is a C-shaped disk between the thigh and shin bones, which provides cushioning between the surfaces. When damaged, the meniscus can lead to excessive wear and tear of the cartilage, and chronic arthritis as the two bones rub together. The transplant procedure has been available for about 15 years, but the complexity of the procedure and the viability of the knee’s function short-term, without the meniscus, often leads doctors and patients to decide not to treat it. For a young patient with an active lifestyle, who has healthy cartilage and good alignment to begin with, and who wants to prevent the early onset of arthritis, it makes much more sense.
“This surgery is for a select group of patients and is not for the general population with a meniscus injury,” said Dr. Henshaw. “But for healthy people who need the surgery and would like to recover at home, this is a big advantage. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within 6 months.”
The specialized meniscus transplant procedure involves taking exact measurements of the size of the patient’s bone through x-rays, submitting the measurements to a tissue bank which then provides a matching cadaver transplant graft. The donor meniscus and bone is then shaped to create a custom fit
within the patient’s knee. Using a camera and specified instruments during surgery, the donor tissue is sewn to the patient’s knee. The incisions, which are made to each side of the knee, are only 1 ½ to 2 inches in size, which leads to improved recovery time.
“The meniscus transplant procedure is not designed to get patients back to being a ski jumper or professional athlete. It helps restore the normal cushioning of your knee, while helping to prevent the progression of debilitating arthritis,” cautions Dr. Henshaw, “but for the right patient, this is an excellent option to enhance mobility and prevent arthritis.”
Dr. Henshaw is excited that more patients and medical professionals, including internists and primary care physicians, have become educated about this procedure. “This procedure and the fact that we can offer it on an outpatient basis without a hospital stay, is an extraordinary step forward in orthopedic care. It truly marries advanced surgical technique with the benefits of the outpatient delivery system. The patient is the one who benefits with reduced pain, improved function, less chance of early arthritis and a better surgical experience,” comments Dr. Henshaw.
Western Connecticut Orthopedic Surgical Center (WCOSC) opened last year to offer the highest quality, state-of-the-art orthopedic surgery on an ambulatory basis to the community. The outpatient facility offers the most advanced technology to assist surgeons with routine and complex procedures. For more information on the center and the surgical center team, please visit www.wcosc.org.
About Danbury Orthopedics:
Danbury Orthopedics is a multi-specialty practice staffed by leaders in orthopedic care since it first opened in 1954; the practice is a member of Western Connecticut Orthopedic Specialists, along with New Milford Orthopedics and Coastal Orthopedics, providing comprehensive care to the community. The practice’s Centers of Excellence provide integrated treatment, offering individualized and compassionate care by a team of specialists. The goal of the practice is to help patients regain mobility, lead active lives and attain optimal well-being. To make an appointment with any of the practice’s specialists, or to learn more about this procedure, or other outpatient procedures at Danbury Orthopedics, please visit http://www.dortho.com/ or call 203.797.1500.