Lindsay Mihalko, Knee Arthroscopy & Reconstructive Surgery | Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital

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Published on October 19, 2012

Lindsay Mihalko

Lindsay MihalkoOccupation: Student
Condition: Knee
Type of Procedures: 4 Arthoscopic Knee Surgeries, 2 Reconstructive Knee Surgeries, 2 Femoral (hip) Osteotomies, and 1 Subsequent Hardware Removal
Procedure Date(s): February 2010 – December 2011
Hospital Stay: Multiple surgeries during the year
Doctor: Brian E. Black, MD

Why did you choose Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital?

Dr. Black is the only orthopedic surgeon that I trust.

What was your pain/discomfort level?

9

What was your recovery time?

4 months each

When did you return to normal activity?

Over a year

How were the doctors and staff?

Dr. Black is the only orthopedic surgeon that I trust. We’ve gotten a second opinion, but Dr. Black knows my joints and ligaments, and he’s the only one I will allow to do surgery on me.

Full Story

I was a competitive cheerleader when I dislocated my right knee in November 2009 at the age of 12. I completed a 12-week course of physical therapy but my knee didn’t get stronger, so I had my first arthroscopic surgery followed by an open knee procedure (reconstruction) one month later. Dr. Black used cadaver tissue to reconstruct my knee since he suspected that I had a connective tissue disorder. I had also been diagnosed by Dr. Black as being hypermobile. That means I am super flexible and can bend or subluxate (partially dislocate) my joints just by bending them.

Dr. Black recommended that I see a geneticist and a pediatric cardiologist because of the connective tissue disorder. I was then diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3 hypermobility, so I am unable to participate in sports, even swimming, as I could still dislocate a shoulder.

Not long after dislocating the first knee, I dislocated my other knee and went right back to Dr. Black. In less than a week, he saw me, had me get an MRI, and performed surgery at MOSH. I had a scope, followed by another open knee reconstruction surgery one month later, again using cadaver tissue. The second knee was more damaged (even though I was just bending over my bed when it dislocated) and I underwent extensive physical therapy for a year.

In 2011, I needed to have femoral osteotomies on both femurs, near the hips and then also second scopes on both knees. These surgeries were done six weeks apart (one leg and knee at a time). They were necessary because I in-toed when I walked which was creating outward pressure on my knees, which gave me a lot of knee pain (and even grinding). Dr. Black cut through the femurs, and “de-rotated” each of my legs – so basically turned them outward. I had screws and plates holding the legs together. Recovery from these surgeries was about four months each; the first month in a wheelchair (completely non-weight bearing) followed by two months on crutches. I graduated from eighth grade in a wheelchair and missed a lot of school that year.

In December 2011, I had the plates and screws removed from my hips that they had put in place during the femoral osteotomies. I’m still going to physical therapy twice a week to strengthen my muscles. My pain varies, and I have good and bad days. I know that everything they’ve done so far is temporary and that by the time I’m in my 30’s I will probably need to have both knees replaced due to my connective tissue disorder.

My mom says that MOSH is the only hospital we are going to go to from now on because it just feels like home. We’re so comfortable there, and the nurses and staff know me and are patient with me. I can’t say enough about how being in the right place really makes a difference.

Because of going through all this, I want to be an orthopedic surgeon. I’m already taking advanced chemistry and am in a medical career track at school. I am able to stay positive by spending time with my family and friends, and attending a great supportive church regularly. I don’t worry about my scars and am not even sad really, because it doesn’t change who I am. In fact, I think they help to define who I am.

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