Medical Minute 12-16:

By: Andrew McIntosh Email
By: Andrew McIntosh Email

Getting home from work is no easy trek for Tick Trecartin. Although the view can't be beat, he still has to walk several blocks from his office and catch a ferry each and every day. Even though he's done it for decades, this routine almost became unbearable.

"I knew I had a problem."

After suffering from arthritis for years, Rick went in for a knee procedure. He came out with MRSA, an antibiotic resistant infection.

"All of a sudden, I started getting this puss out of the lesion of the leg where they had cut my skin," said Rick Trecartin, Arthritis Sufferer.

The infection was in Rick's bone, just two centimeters from his knee joint. If it got inside the knee, doctors might have amputated his leg. But orthopedic surgeon Amir Matityahu had a different plan.

"You need to stop it as soon as possible to take care of the infection."

First, he cleaned out Rick's bone and placed hardware inside to keep it stable. Then, he implanted a wafer filled with antibiotics near the knee. The high dose of antibiotics spread to the surrounding area, killing the bacteria.

"Bone basically heals without scar."

After six weeks of antibiotics, bone from Rick's hip was transferred to his leg to replace what had deteriorated. Now, Rick's bone has completely healed.

"I just had a blood test to see if I had any indications of infection, and I don't."

"If that infection got worse, he could have lost his leg," said Amir Matityahu, M.D., Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery.

The next step for Rick is a knee transplant. He feels lucky to have that option.

"Amir saved my leg, and in the process saved my life."

A grateful patient who's looking forward to getting out of the doctor's office and on with his life.


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