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How to rebuild a knee: The treatment story of pro-skier, Jen Hudak

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Professional freestyle skier, Jen Hudak needs two hands to count her broken bones and injured joints. It's hardly surprising. Her career involves skiing at top speed into a giant half pipe of snow packed so hard it's almost ice. She flies up and over the edge of the pipe and hovers briefly, twisting and turning in midair before landing back to do it all over again, trick after trick. 

Natural Healing
In 2009, a serious knee injury threatened to cut short her sporting career. She sought out The Stone Clinic to help repair her joint. As a pioneer in the field of orthopedics, Kevin R Stone MD uses stem cells and growth factors to help rebuild joints naturally rather than with artificial replacements. "The goal isn't just to get someone back on the slopes" insists Dr. Stone "The goal is to have that person heal their mind and their body and come back fitter than they were before they got hurt" Jen underwent a novel cartilage replacement procedure where Dr. Stone used a technique called an articular cartilage stem cell paste graft, grafting a huge lesion on her lateral femoral condyle, part of her knee and then rebuilding the back corner of her knee where she had ruptured the ligament. 

From injury to victory
Post surgery, Jen worked hard on her rehabilitation, helped by the team at The Stone Clinic. "There was a lot expected of me and I expected a lot of myself. I wanted to heal ahead of the curve, I wanted to be back on my feet as soon as I could and they were ready to help me do that." Within 6 months she was back on the slopes. That season was her best season to date; she pushed her newly fixed joint to the limits and won every major competition. For Dr. Stone, the success of an athlete like Jen is a vindication of all that he does. It provides the ultimate test. "It challenges the surgical techniques that we have been innovating for so long to regrow durable cartilage," he says. "It challenges the surgical stabilization ligament techniques that all push beyond the limits that other people thought were possible."

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Fix a meniscus to avoid arthritis
A recent study suggested that meniscus surgery doesn't help. Studies can be misleading. Even small losses of meniscus tissue lead to big changes in force concentration on the tibia (shin bone) and eventually arthritis.
Calm, happy patients make calmer, happier surgeons. It adds up to better outcomes. Though it’s hard to prove, the more the patient helps the surgeon relax, the better the surgeon perceives the patient and the job ahead. I know, having been both the surgeon and the patient.
When tissues are injured, a cascade of events occurs. These include inflammation and the release of chemical signals to recruit new cells. Some of these cells remove damaged tissue, while others form collagen: the fibrous material that makes up skin, bones, muscles, and all connective tissue.
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Stone, K.R., A.W. Walgenbach, A. Freyer, T.J. Turek, and D.P. Speer. 2006.

Stone K.R., A.W. Walgenbach, A. Freyer. 2008.

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