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PATIENT HIKES DIAMOND HEAD AFTER KNEE SURGERY

From Barnes-Jewish Hospital Media Affairs, posted Dec 21, 2011, written by Jason Merrill

ST. LOUIS - After 43 years of pain that made even walking difficult, William Marcrander not only got the help he needed, but he climbed one of the world’s largest volcanic cones.

Vexed by a leg injury and traumatic arthritis, Marcrander, 66, a retired construction worker from St. Louis, decided to have knee surgery. Despite consistent doubts that any new medical procedure could help.

“He was always hesitant about getting knee surgery because he didn’t know if all of the new innovations would work for him,” Sharon Marcrander, his wife says. In 1968, as a pilot in the Vietnam War, Marcrander's helicopter crashed and he broke 15 bones including a double compound fracture to his right leg.

“The VA did everything they could to treat my leg and for 43 years I just worked through obstacles,” says Marcrander.

Once traumatic arthritis developed in Marcrander’s right leg, making his pain intensify, his friend referred him to Robert Barrack, MD, chief of service for orthopedic surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Orthopedics.

“New technology is available that allows physicians to plan the ideal orientation and alignment of total knee replacement by obtaining pre-operative imaging and generating a three-dimensional model and custom guides, that are unique to each patient,” says Dr. Barrack.

The technology, called “weight bearing 3D imaging,” radiologists to get images of patients from the front and side simultaneously while scanning the patient in a standing or even sitting position. Traditionally, such patients received several scans while laying down.

“What we try to accomplish in surgery is to restore a patient’s alignment in a functional position while they are standing upright,” says Dr. Barrack. “This is a revolutionary advance in how we image patients before and after surgical procedures.

“We have an ongoing study to determine if this offers an advantage for every patient that needs a total knee replacement, but certainly for patients with unusual anatomy, like Mr. Marcrander. This new technology was very helpful and certainly contributed to his excellent result.”

After the surgery, Marcrander was out of the hospital in three days and was able to gradually recover at a healthy pace.

All along, Marcrander had a personal goal after surgery that would have been improbable in the past. But nine months after his surgery, Marcrander and his wife traveled to the Hawaiian island of O’aho to climb Diamond Head, the famous 762-foot, 200,000 year-old volcanic cone.

“I was always impressed by how thorough my treatment was at Barnes-Jewish because I also had surgery there to restore the use of my hand from injuries sustained in the helicopter crash in Vietnam,” Marcrander says. “When I got a new referral for Dr. Barrack, I felt comfortable because I was told that I needed the best orthopedic revisionist in the area and it was Dr. Barrack.” While the procedure was one that Marcrander was impressed with, seeing such outcomes is common place for Dr. Barrack.

“Advances in surgical technique and component design have allowed the vast majority of our patients to return to the activities most important to them, even among younger, more active patients like Mr. Marcrander,” says Dr. Barrack.

To schedule an appointment with Washington University Orthopedics call 314 514 3500 or 314-TOP-DOCS (867-3627).
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Copyright 2014 Washington University School of Medicine