How to Ski Forever: One Patient's Quest to Extend the Life of His Knees & His Skiing Years


The reason I went on the quest was I knew that I didn't want to lose those years of things that the thing that I loved, which was, which is wilderness skiing, backcountry skiing, you know, skin and up and, and skiing powder snow that's never been touched. I mean, that's, that's a big thing in my life. And I wouldn't have had that. I would just have done other sports. I would've done bicycling. I mean, there's lots of sports I could have done, but those sports can't hold a candle to powder skiing. <Laugh>. Yeah. My name is Brian. And Dr. Stone helped me with a first with a a meniscus allograft on my left knee, and then with a Mako-assisted partial on my lateral min replacement of my right knee. And I drove right into the physician's parking lot and hobbled my way to the door.

And somebody came along pushing a, a a wheelchair and said, I can help people loaded me in the wheelchair. And they took me back in and said, well, you know, you got this meniscus that's broken and it's stuck up inside your knee, and that's why you can't move your knee. So that, that's, that's, that's how I first knew I had a problem with my meniscus. So I, I started to, first thing that happened was I had what everybody said was the right operation, and, but I actually knew that I wanted to save my meniscus as I could me. And so I said, don't take my meniscus. And when I woke up, they'd taken my meniscus helicoptered into a ski lodge in the sekis in British Columbia, and we'd gone down and we were climbing up on the glacier, all skinning up on the glacier.

And if you get up in the glacier, you can't yeah, you can't go back. And so if you can't continue, you just gotta bivy there for, well, everybody else skis for a whole day, freezing to death. So as we climbed up onto the glacier, I just made the decision and my knee was hurting so much that it wasn't fair to me or the rest of the people for me to continue. And, and at that point, the guide would let, because we could see the lodge, the guy would allow me to take myself back to the lodge. So I did. And then I said, then I went on a quest to get my knee repaired. And I was too young. I was 50 or early fifties. I was too young to have a total knee re replacement. So I went to see, you know, big doc at the, at the, at Harvard, and he told me look don't make sports a big thing in your life because you're, you're grade four now, you're bad.

And you're not gonna be able. So I said, I don't want that. So I started traveling the country looking for someplace that would help me. And I saw a number of doctors, and they all basically said, your knee's too far gone. And finally, I got all the way up to California <laugh> and I Dr. Stone. I expected I was gonna see the same thing they told me at Veil, the same thing they told me everywhere else, that I was outta luck. And Dr. Stone said he would operate on me. And he did. He, he put a a meniscus allograft in my left knee. And I was b I was back skiing the next year. And and that was 2006, since 2022 now. And the last two years I've known that I can do just about everything except skiing, which puts a high, high road on the, so I said, you know, let's let's fix that.

So I'm here to get the partial on, on the left side, which is replacing that meniscus allograft that Dr. Stone had done in 2006. I've gotten to the point where having the replacement, it's going to take me through the rest of my years most likely. And, and at the same time, the technology has increased a lot in the interim. So I'm getting a lot better partial replacement than I ever could have gotten back that time. I guess anybody that skis powder knows that there's no kind of transcendent feeling like those perfect days with a powder snow. And when you, when you're climbing up on your own with skins, you're, you're earning those turns and those are the, are the, are the best turns, and that's the best snow. And and that's the best place in the world. I mean, that's, that's where you travel the whole world. You won't find snow like that and conditions like that and be, and to, and to be able to, to enjoy them. It, it, having enjoyed them in my earlier years, to feel that I wouldn't be able to enjoy them further on was just that's why I went on the question <laugh> to try to, to try to find a way.

Well, once, once I, Dr had shown me that he could do things that nobody else could do. And I wasn't gonna try my luck with somebody else. I mean, I was convinced that this was the guy. And, you know, there, there I was, what, three years ago and doing a bicycle training camp in Mayorca and got in an accident long day, coming back, going around the roundabout to come into the hotel all the way at the end of the ride. And the guy behind in front of me throws out the anchor and pile up, happened, broke my clavicle. They took me into the local hospital, which was just a local clinic, and they were gonna operate on my badly fractured collar bone, my clavicle they're in that clinic. And I said, no way. I took out my phone, I called Stone. I said, make my way <laugh>.

He said, okay, show up. And they told me, you have to have the operation here. We can only give you 48 hours before we have to keep you here. And I said, okay, well, stabilize me. I'm getting on an airplane. So they stabilized me gave me 48 hours and with a broken clavicle and, and the whole nine yards, I bundled myself onto an airplane. And it was 11 hour flight. It was a four hour flight, an overnight in Copenhagen, and 11 hour through to San Francisco show up to the emergency room. The emergency room they took me to in San Francisco. They, they, they said, oh, yeah, you got a badly broken. And moreover, what's happened in the interim as you've thrown blood clots into your lungs. So there was all sorts of problems when they got me to the, to the emergency room, and I told him that Dr.

Stone was gonna operate on me. And the next day, stone, Dr. Stone showed up at my bedside and he operated me in that hospital with his, with his surgical team on the, on my al That's how much I trust the guy. I wouldn't, wouldn't have anybody else. I'm really looking forward to getting back to the powder skiing. Mostly. That's what I, with the, with the, with the knee, I was able to bicycle. There are lots of sports I'm, I'm able to do. I can train and I can bicycle, I can windsurf. But the powder, the skiing is the thing that I miss most. So I'm really looking forward with my two bulletproof knees to be back doing that.

Yeah. Cause we assisted you replacing your, your, your other knee, right? Yeah. How does it, like work for you, right? Like, how rigorous are you, are you with it? How much do you think about it? You know, how does it holding up for you kind of day to day and your activities and things like that?

The, the first thing is it's, it, it's not going to get better. I mean, if, if you don't do something about it like an operation that, that, that makes the knee work, again, a lot of people will tell you, oh, exercise, oh, take ibuprofen. Oh, you know, do these various things, glucosamine and so on. All that's going to lead to, in my experience is, is disappointment. And you don't have that many years in your life to be disappointed like that with your body. So that they'll encourage people will encourage you to think that various kinds of supplements and exercises will take the place of a of the kind of operation that Dr. Stone does. And it's, it's just not true. If you, if you want to get back you have to go through <laugh>, the difficulty of the operation in the recovery.

Well, once Dr. Stone had shown me that he could do things that nobody else could do. I wasn't gonna try my luck with somebody else. I mean, I am convinced that this is the guy.

- Brian F.

Brian is a perfect example of how to extend your athletic career well into your golden years with strategic surgical interventions. Dr. Stone biologically reconstructed Brian's knee joint in 2006 (with our BioKnee program), delaying his knee replacement by 16 years, allowing Brian to now have a more technologically advanced partial knee replacement using robotics and drastically reducing his likelihood of knee replacement revision surgery in the future. Learn more about how delaying your knee joint replacement can extend your athletic career in Dr. Stone's blog "Delaying Knee Joint Replacement." 

For more on how skiers can play for a lifetime and avoid knee pain after skiing, be sure to check out all of Dr. Stone's blogs on skiing injury prevention and recovery

Download a Guide to our Knee-Saving Procedures
Explore all your options. Learn about procedures that can help you return to sports & delay or avoid an artificial knee replacement.

Download a Guide to our Knee-Saving Procedures

Saving My Knee Guide

Saving My Knee Guide
Learn about procedures that can help you return to sports & delay or avoid an artificial knee replacement.