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Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Orthopedics Archive

July 28th, 2014 · 1 Comment

A New Approach to a Difficult Cancer Diagnosis

By Hoyt Finnamore

Tom Peroulas returns to coaching after surgery for a rare cancer.

At age 39, Tom Peroulas was active and fit. Coaching and playing rugby, biking to work in downtown Chicago, and exercising daily kept him in good shape. So when he started noticing pain in his leg, groin and hip, he thought it was probably related to activity. He tried stretching and yoga. He rested it. He worked with a physical therapist. Nothing helped.

After several months of persistent pain, Tom turned to his doctor, who referred him to a specialist in orthopedics. By the time he turned 40, in April 2013, tests revealed the startling reason for his discomfort: an uncommon kind of cancer called chondrosarcoma that begins in the cartilage around bones. The cancer was affecting Tom's hip socket, or acetabulum. But although the source of the pain had become clear, the best way to deal with it had not.

Faced with a wide range of surgical options, Tom dove into researching his choices. After an exhaustive search that had him talking with physicians as far away as Canada and Europe, he decided to go to Mayo Clinic. Using a unique technique for hip reconstruction, the orthopedic surgery Tom had at Mayo allowed him to return to his life with the cancer removed and chances good that he won't need another reconstruction in the future.  Read the rest of this entry »

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March 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

My Story – Lorrie Schroder

By Lorrie Schroder

I have been going to Mayo Clinic since 1985. When I was 6 years old, a doctor gave me an injection into left buttocks of Terramycin, and within minutes my left lower leg was paralyzed (motor and sensory). Terramycin is very acidic. After six months, I was able to walk. Sensation returned, but I was left with a foot drop due to the paralysis of the anterior tendon. I had my foot fused in 1985 at Mayo, and due to left ankle, I overuse my right hip. I have been receiving treatment for my hip since 2001. I have received excellent treatment from the doctors at Mayo and would recommend Mayo to all.

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February 14th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Transitional Care Team Helps Sandy Dyson Get Back on the Dance Floor

By Mayo Clinic

If Proud Mary is playing, Sandy Dyson wants to be dancing. But last spring, it looked like Dyson’s dancing days might be behind her. After knee replacement surgery, the 71-year-old Kennebec, S.D., resident was in so much pain that just walking seemed like punishment.

Sandy and Dick Dyson

Sandy and Dick Dyson are back on the dance floor after rehab helped Sandy regain mobility after knee replacement.

Thanks to a “wickedly good team” of rehabilitation specialists in the Mayo Transitional Care program at Mayo Clinic Health System in Waseca, however, she was back on the dance floor by winter.

The Transitional Care program provides a step between hospital and home for patients, who are supervised by physicians and receive daily care from nurses and therapists. A multidisciplinary team of providers sets up an individualized plan of care for each patient designed to get them back home as quickly as possible.

“Without their help I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Dyson.

When she arrived in Waseca three days after having surgery at Mayo Clinic, Dyson was in “excruciating” pain.

She understood that the pain she was experiencing wasn’t unusual immediately after knee replacement surgery, but Dyson was not happy about it. And not shy about letting people know it. But that didn’t scare staff away. Dyson says someone checked on her every 30 minutes the first week she arrived, always meeting her tears and frustration with kindness and encouragement. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 15th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Finding Coach Rudy

By Mayo Clinic

With no cure available, a Mayo patient finds comfort in a reunion with a former teacher whose words and encouragement had a lasting impact on his life. With some help from his Mayo physician.

 

Ron Kraszneck

Ron Kraszneck reunited with an inspirational figure from his past with the help of his Mayo Clinic physician.

Tim Ruettiger, a gym teacher and wrestling coach in New Lennox, Ill., had no idea what a lasting impression he had made on one of his students, Ron Krasneck.

In 1982, Krasneck was 14 years old when he first met Ruettiger, known as Coach Rudy. Krasneck was slightly built, standing just 4 feet, 6 inches tall. Born with a rare genetic condition linked to cancer, the teenager had undergone multiple orthopedic surgeries to treat bone cancer. But Coach Rudy treated Krasneck just like the rest of the students.

Thirty years later, Mayo's Horacio Asbun, M.D., a surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Florida, learned about Coach Rudy's impact during a conversation back in December 2012, after Krasneck learned that surgery couldn’t cure his advanced gall bladder and liver cancer.

“I couldn’t do anything for him,” says Dr. Asbun, who knew much of Krasneck’s medical journey. Diagnosed as a toddler, his disease ramped up in his late teens. At age 46, Krasneck had survived nine episodes of bone cancer, amputations of a hand and wrist, partial removal of a shoulder/scapula and removal and rebuilding of C2 and C3 vertebrae. He walked with a prosthetic leg, though it was hardly noticeable. He'd had more than 35 major surgeries. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 22nd, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Young girl becomes champion for scoliosis screening

By Admin

Kelsey O'Leary

Kelsey O'Leary

It's a rare teenager who puts in overtime. Kelsey O'Leary is that teen.

At age 12, Kelsey was diagnosed with scoliosis and fitted with a brace by Mayo Clinic physicians. The Rochester, Minn., girl wore the brace day and night — logging more than the recommended hours — for three years.

Kelsey, now 17, and her parents, Amaria Najem O'Leary and Patrick O'Leary, credit her perseverance with a remarkable outcome. After three years of bracing, the curvature of Kelsey's spine was improved — an unusual result for a treatment that is designed to keep spinal curvature from worsening.

"I was really surprised and happy about that," says Kelsey, a theater and arts aficionado. "I was always told that bracing doesn't cure scoliosis, but it did actually improve the curvature of my spine, which is very rare."   Read the rest of this entry »

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August 14th, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Woman Patient: Is Her Voice Heard?

By Admin

Portrait of Dr. Mary I. O'Connor, chair of the Department of Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

Mary I. O'Connor, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

[Editor's Note: Following is an article by Mary I. O'Connor, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Florida, sharing her perspective on how gender affects the care of women today.]

Should a woman have a female doctor? As a woman and an orthopedic surgeon, I am sometimes asked that question. While some women may be more comfortable discussing intimate matters related to sexual and reproductive health with a woman physician, a general assumption is that the care provided to patients by physicians is not influenced by gender. Unfortunately, data suggests that women do not always receive the same care as men.

This is not a simple issue. There are many factors that influence the patient-physician interaction and relationship. But the factor that may be the most powerful may be one we know surprisingly little about in the health care setting: unconscious bias. Unconscious bias may be the reason women receive fewer kidney transplants and heart surgeries. It may be so powerful that it even influences the care provided to children. A 2011 study by Butani and Perez showed girls are 22 percent less likely to be placed on a kidney transplant list than boys. Because an earlier transplant equates to better health, this gender disparity likely impacts the long-term outcome of these young women.

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August 9th, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Little Sofia takes big steps with the help of Mehta casting

By Hoyt Finnamore

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After Mehta casting at Mayo Clinic, 3-year-old Sofía Egües saw the curvature of her spine reduced from 60 to 35 degrees and has taken steps she was previously unable to. 

Three-year-old Sofía Egües has progressive infantile scoliosis. In November 2012, despite having received treatment with a brace during her first years of life, Sofía had a spine curvature that had already reached 60 degrees.

The specialists in her hometown of Lima, Peru, said Sofía required corrective surgery, which involved implanting titanium rods along her spine, as well as maintenance surgeries every six months. Ultimately, they said, an early fusion of the spine could be performed at age 8 or 10.

"I was absolutely certain that this would destroy the future, the body and possibly the spirit of my daughter," says Ismael Egües, Sofía’s father. "We immediately looked for another alternative to avoid the surgery to correct Sofía’s spine curvature.”

The search for alternative solutions for little Sofía at first seemed an impossible task.

A method known as "Mehta casting" -- a noninvasive treatment that doesn’t require performing surgery on a delicate child’s body -- was identified as the best solution. Mehta casting is a treatment whereby a cast is placed around the spine and body of the child to hold the spine straight while the child grows. But physicians in Peru and the rest of South America were unfamiliar with the procedure, and the hope of little Sofía and her family began to dim.

Not ready to give up hope, then family “sent emails to physicians all over the world,” says Ismael.

Noelle Larson, M.D., of Mayo Clinic's Department of Orthopedics in Rochester was one of the many physicians who received the Egües family email, and she reviewed Sofía’s case. Shortly afterward, she confirmed the viability of the Mehta casting procedure, which could be done at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with follow-ups every two or three months for one year.

Traveling to the U.S. every two or three months to receive treatment, however, was not within the family's financial capability, Sofía's father noted.

Sofia EguesIsmael Egües and his family requested help from Heather Hyatt-Montoya, founder of the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program, which connects families of children with scoliosis with resources and information to help them make the best choices possible in the care of their child. The lack of physicians or institutions certified to perform the procedure in South America prompted the organization to offer free training, at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, to Dr. Raúl Macchiavello, chief of the Spine Unit at the Clínica Hogar San Juan de Dios and Sofía’s personal physician in Peru. The training would not only benefit the physician and little Sofía, but also many future patients.

Funds raised through a charity concert, along with support provided by American Airlines with the donation of two tickets for Sofía and her parents to travel to Mayo Clinic, made the treatment possible. The amazing teamwork of several people covered the cost of all travel expenses, lodging and translators to enable Dr. Macchiavello to receive training.

Dr. Larson was in charge of facilitating Sofía's first treatment of Mehta casting at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The use of a brace decreased Sofía’s curvature 10 degrees. After the Mehta casting procedure at Mayo, Sofía’s curvature decreased from 50 degrees to 35 degrees. The change on the X-rays was impressive, as were the changes in Sofía’s life. Sofía used to limp due to the trunk shift caused by the scoliosis, but a few hours after the procedure, the limp improved by 70 percent.

Sofía now has more balance in her body, which is evident when she walks or plays. As the days went by, her progress was clear. Sofía was walking faster than before, and her achievements during the physical therapy sessions were indisputable. After she returned home, Sofía was able to stand on the tips of her toes, which she had never been able to do. Just a couple of weeks later, she descended a set of steps by herself for the first time.

Dr. Macchiavello now has an EDF Casting Frame, a special operating room table required for the early Mehta casting treatment. DHL Global Forwarding in Perú, American Airlines and HP worked together to have the equipment ready to provide continuity to Sofía’s treatment. This also will allow more children in Peru to receive early Mehta casting treatment for progressive infantile scoliosis.

"Many children in our country can now hope to grow, develop and be as happy as any other child in the world”, says Ismael Egües.

"All this was possible thanks to the generosity of many people in Peru and other parts of the world who joined us in our journey, and especially because God wanted it to happen. There are three people that deserve to be individually mentioned, Dr. Min H. Mehta for developing the technique, Dr. A. Noelle Larson from Mayo Clinic for her pivotal help in initiating the process, and Heather Hyatt-Montoya from ISOP for her big heart,” Ismael Egües says.

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December 29th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

An Arm-lifting Success Story

By Margaret Shepard

Harper BlommersLori Blommers used to cry at dance recitals. She knew that her youngest daughter, Harper, would never join the girls on stage because of injuries suffered at birth. Today, Harper is happily dancing away, thanks to an unusual surgery at Mayo Clinic that allowed her arm to move more freely.

When Harper was born on Aug. 26, 2004, she became stuck in the birth canal with only her head delivered. The pulling and the pushing after 27 hours of labor damaged Harper's collarbone and severed the brachial plexus nerves from her left arm.

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves extending from the spinal cord that controls muscle movement and sensation in the shoulders, arms and hands. About 1 in 2,000 babies born in the United States suffer brachial plexus injuries at birth. "It's primarily a problem of big babies trying to get out of small moms,"says Mayo Clinic pediatric orthopedic surgeon William Shaughnessy, M.D. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 9th, 2012 · Leave a Comment

Goals achieved: Beat cancer, walk again

By Margaret Shepard

Bob Anderson and his family.

Robert and Lora Anderson and their two children

When Robert Anderson realized he was facing cancer and a possible amputation of his leg, he wrote down three goals that he still carries in his wallet: Save my life, save my limb and maintain an active lifestyle.

Three years later, he's two for three on his list and not looking back.

In 2006, Anderson, then age 41, of Rogers, Minn., was a guy on the go. He enjoyed his work in corporate finance. The father of two active children, he coached youth baseball and hockey teams. Anderson played hockey and ran marathons with his wife, Lora. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 23rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

Two Hip Replacements and One Happy Patient

By Makala Johnson

Picture of Samantha and dog

My name is Samantha Blythe, and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is a five-star medical facility in my book. Out of all the specialty clinics and hospitals that I’ve been to in my childhood and adult years, none of them match up to the quality of care that the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota gives to their patients.

I had been there for the hip dysplasia in my right hip in 2000, and Dr. Dan Berry, who is the best hip specialist who works with Dr. Trousdale, decided to do the hip replacement surgery. I cried happy tears when he looked at me, and said, “Can you stay longer?” Read the rest of this entry »

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