CARMEL, N.Y. -- When Carmel resident Nicholas Saccone saw his knee blow up to three times its normal size after falling on the stairs, he knew he was in trouble.
Saccone, 69, wasn’t able to walk or bend it, and pain radiated throughout his leg.
So he contacted the doctor in Danbury, Conn., who had performed a previous meniscus surgery on him, Dr. Daniel Fish of Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut.
An MRI and X-ray revealed that Saccone had arthritis and had also developed a stress fracture of the knee, but instead of a full knee replacement, Fish suggested a relatively new procedure called subchondroplasty.
“This procedure is ideal for patients with knee pain and decreased joint function caused by small cracks or stress fractures,” explained Fish.
"We inject a calcium phosphate compound that seals the crack, similar to caulking.”
Specifically, surgeons use an injectable, bone graft substitute material called AccuFill that is intended to fill voids or gaps in the skeletal system.
It flows readily to fill bone defects, then crystallizes and sets to form a scaffold in the bone. The compound promotes new bone growth and is naturally replaced with the new bone during the healing process.
Fish and his partner, Dr. Robert Daher, along with colleague Dr. Matthew Rogell, have offered the procedure for two years.
“Before subchondroplasty, there were limited treatment options for this type of injury,” said Rogell. “Often the only treatment option for patients in significant pain was a more invasive knee replacement.”
Saccone's surgery took place in the morning, and by noon he was home and moving around.
On day four postoperative, "I was walking without a cane. I couldn’t believe it," Saccone said.
It's been eight months since the surgery, and Saccone remains very active, walking 1.5 miles per day.
Recently, he was in Atlantic City, where he was able to "easily walk up and down the boardwalk."
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