On Wednesday, January 21 Renee underwent knee surgery at Manchester Memorial Hospital (Manchester, CT).
Following diagnostic x-rays and an MRI, surgery was scheduled with Dr. Pedro Romero of Advanced Orthopedics to correct the alignment of her left kneecap. However, after the successful kneecap repair, Dr. Romero found a significant problem with the cartilage lining the bottom of her femur that neither the x-rays nor MRI indicated.
Because the cartilage was so damaged, Dr. Romero performed a Microfracture procedure. During Microfracture, the surgeon creates tiny fractures in the adjacent bones (through the use of an awl). As a result, blood and bone marrow (which contains stem cells) seep out of the fractures, creating a blood clot that, in turn, releases cartilage-building cells. The human body treats these microfractures as an injury to the body, resulting in new, replacement cartilage.
In order to allow the Microfracture procedure adequate time to build replacement cartilage, Renee will be non-weight bearing for 6 to 8 weeks. During the recovery, she is required to use a CPM (continuous passive motion) Machine for 6 to 8 hours per day. While a complete recovery is anticipated, her next option is partial knee replacement surgery.
“I was pretty surprised – and obviously disappointed – when Dr. Romero came to talk to me in the recovery room and explained that the injury was much worse than initially believed, especially that I need to be on crutches for 6 weeks or more,” Renee recently recounted. “When I got hurt at Stafford years ago, I did everything Dr. Romero and the therapists told me to do and I had a great recovery. At this point, I’m just following their recommendations, trying for the best possible outcome here.”
At this point in time, Renee’s surgery and recovery are not expected to have any impact on her 2009 race season schedule.