Wednesday, August 1, 2012

High Tibial Osteotomy

The meniscus in my right knee tore while walking in 2009 probably because of osteoarthritis.
That year, I received a series of Synvisc (rooster juice) injections which brought some
relief. In 2010, I was given a course of Orthovisc injections which did not help. I was then fitted with a knee brace. I was not compliant in wearing it often enough because of its bulk. I didn't have any problem bicycling but walking was increasingly difficult. Limping for three years was getting to me. It was time for me to consider arthroscopy or something more involved.
The operation I underwent is called Microfracture + High tibial osteotomy (medial opening wedge technique using distraction osteogenesis.
The operation went well. There was hardly any pain post-op. For the first week, ice water circulated around the wound using a machine that we purchased. I had to keep my leg in a Continuous Passive Motion machine for a few hours a day to continually move it back and forth pivoting around the knee. Starting with week 3, I also need to use a stationary bike for about an hour each day. My leg is still not allowed to bear more than 10% of load so I have to use crutches to get around.
The tubes attached to an ice water machine. (6 days post-op)

During surgery, an external fixator was attached to my leg using 4 pins:

It may make you cringe but, honestly, it did not hurt much.  The scars on the knee are where  cartilage was accessed.  (17 days post-op)

My wife helps me take a shower and dresses up my wound each morning. While sitting in the shower, I clean the pins of the external fixator that stick out of my leg and knee with a toothbrush soaked in soap every day to prevent infection. Starting with day 6 post-op thru day 33 post-op, 
a screw was turned 180deg, three times a day using a wrench
that was given to us to move my tibia. The vertical load line was being
shifted. Every week my leg was x-rayed and there was good progress
in the desired direction. On day 33 post-op, the fixator was locked in
place for 5 weeks. The following week, I was allowed to put 50% load on
that leg.

We don't have a bed downstairs. I stay in the main family room
downstairs and sleep on a sofa there, My wife sleeps on another sofa
in the next room. A week ago, we tried sleeping upstairs. I had bought
a walker for use upstairs. I get up the stairs by sitting on the
second step and sliding up a step at a time. Coming down is just the
reverse. I made about 3 round trips a day. I have found that sleeping
in the confined space of a sofa is easier on me than moving around in
a bed with the load of the fixator around my leg and its sharp

When no one else is around, I can drag a chair to a place near the
coffee maker and make a mug of coffee. I drink it sitting in that
chair because I can only carry very small, non-liquid, items while on
Other than the weekly visits to my doctor, I have not gone anywhere else.
My wife took a lot of time off from work to clean my wound, dress
it and help me shower. My kids have filled in any gaps and provided a lot of support.
The long period of recovery should end around day 77 post-op and then I
will undergo physical therapy.
[The three products from Amazon are the ones that I purchased. I needed one bandage roll/day and 1 gauze pad(sponge)/day.]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BBC: Weekly curry 'may fight dementia'

Turmeric is widely used in Indian cooking and for pain management in home remedies. The Western medical community has taken notice.
Professor Murali Doraiswamy, of Duke University in North Carolina, said there was evidence that people who eat a curry meal two or three times a week have a lower risk of dementia.

Professor Doraiswamy told the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists': "There is very solid evidence that curcumin binds to plaques, and basic research on animals engineered to produce human amyloid plaques has shown benefits."

"If you have a good diet and take plenty of exercise, eating curry regularly could help prevent dementia."

Dr Susanne Sorensen, of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Indian communities that regularly eat curcumin have a surprisingly low incidence of Alzheimer's disease but we don't yet know why."
Read the full story.

Monday, June 1, 2009

BBC: Tomato pill 'beats heart disease'

Ateronon, a supplement to control heart disease, is being marketed by a British company. It is pricey at 35 British Pounds for 30 capsules.
Scientists say a natural supplement made from tomatoes, taken daily, can stave off heart disease and strokes.
The tomato pill contains an active ingredient from the Mediterranean diet - lycopene - that blocks "bad" LDL cholesterol that can clog the arteries.
Ateronon, made by a biotechnology spin-out company of Cambridge University, is being launched as a dietary supplement.
Read the full story to learn of the cautionary statements by physicians.
Ateronon on Twitter, its YouTube channel.

Friday, May 22, 2009

heartwire: Give blood pressure drugs to all

London, UK - Blood-pressure-lowering drugs should be offered to everyone, regardless of their blood-pressure level, as a safeguard against coronary heart disease and stroke, researchers who conducted a meta-analysis of 147 randomized trials (comprising 958 000 people) conclude in the May 19, 2009 issue of British Medical Journal.
"Guidelines on the use of blood-pressure-lowering drugs can be simplified so that drugs are offered to people with all levels of blood pressure," write Drs Malcolm R Law and Nicholas Wald (Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, UK). "Our results indicate the importance of lowering blood pressure in everyone over a certain age, rather than measuring it in everyone and treating it in some."
"Whatever your blood pressure, you benefit from lowering it further," Law told heartwire. "Everyone benefits from taking blood-pressure-lowering drugs. There is no one who does not benefit because their blood pressure is so-called normal."
Six years ago, Law and Wald advocated the use of a polypill—containing a statin, three blood-pressure-lowering drugs (each at half the standard dose), folic acid, and aspirin—which they maintained could prevent heart attacks and stroke if taken by everyone 55 years and older and by everyone with existing cardiovascular disease.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Washington Post: Gorilla Staple Adds Spice to New Drugs

Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family. This spice, commonly known as Grains of paradise, is obtained from the plant's ground seeds. It has a pungent, peppery flavor. and is native to West Africa. In West African folk medicine, grains of paradise are valued for their warming and digestive properties.
Washington Post:
Aframomum is not easy to come by. It grows in just one place: the vine-choked swampy lowlands of West Africa's Grain Coast. Stretching from Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas in Liberia, this rain-drenched, humid land is named for its abundant grains of paradise.

Ilya Raskin, a biochemist at Rutgers University's Biotechnology Center, first became interested in Aframomum during an international effort to search for medicines from plants. "Aframomum contains compounds called gingerols, which are chemically similar to other anti-inflammatory compounds," he said. "That's what initially drew our attention to the plant, and was confirmed in the lab."

Humans may not be the only creatures that use Aframomum to treat inflammation and infection, said primatologist Michael Huffman of Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute in Japan. He said studies have shown that Western lowland gorillas in Africa prefer Aframomum shoots and seedpods to other foods.
Read the fascinating story at Washington Post