Holly Semel, Brooklyn, NY - spinal fusion
I can never say enough great things about Dr. Cunningham. In the fall of 2013, he performed an extensive, very large, spinal fusion on me. This was my 3rd spinal fusion but my first surgery with Dr. Cunningham. After meeting with him for the first time, my husband and I decided I immediately after he walked out of the exam room to book the surgery with him. He was so kind, so knowledgeable, and didn't rush us through the consultation. He took his time answering all of our questions.
After the surgery, he came to see me on a daily basis never missing a day. I was so happy that all of the nurses as well as the PAs constantly told me about how great Dr. Cunningham was. Besides having great hands, he has a great heart, and a great mind.
Daniel T. Carmichael, DVM, Babylon, NY - total hip replacement
Dear Dr. Mayman,
It’s been almost one year since my hip replacement (on my 50th birthday), and you have given me a new lease on life!
Words cannot express my gratitude for your expert care!
Very Truly, Dan
Ann L. Buttenweiser, New York, NY - spinal surgery
Save perhaps for November 5. 1935, the first day of my life, May 13. 2014, when Dr. Frank Cammisa lavished his great surgical skills upon me, may have been the best day of my life. The surgery consisted of a laminectomy, which transported me from a state of constant, almost debilitating, back pain to a state totally free from back pain.
I came into Dr. Cammisa’s care perhaps three months before the surgery, when he described to me in exhaustive and frightening detail both my preoperative condition, indicating why the back pain was so intense and unremitting, and then precisely how he would remedy my condition. His description of my condition and of the correction he would make was so thorough that, if it were anatomically possible, I think I could have operated on myself. Just prior to the surgery, I had a long and informative interview with Dr. Joseph Oxendine, the anesthesiologist assigned to my case and a frequent collaborator of Dr. Cammisa in the operating room. By the end of the interview, I was fully informed of how I would be sedated, anesthetized and managed during surgery. I instantaneously gained total confidence in Dr. Oxendine.
The surgery took place at precisely the appointed hour and was performed with great skill and dispatch and the anesthesia administered so effectively that I cannot remember any part of the operation. I recovered from the operation quickly and easily. I am now free of back pain, able to walk without inhibition and looking forward to the moment at the end of the month when I can once again bend over and touch my toes – or, more usefully, tie my shoelaces.
JoAnne Callinan, Medford, NY - total knee replacement
I had been having knee pain with swelling for many years. I finally went to an orthopedist for a diagnosis. He did recommend a knee replacement but at the time I shrugged it off thinking he probably says this to a lot of patients. I then opted for knee injections of Euflexa. I continued with these shots for four years. Did they help me? No. But I felt I was doing something for my knee.
Four years later, I was at the point of not being able to walk without being in excruciating pain. Getting in and out of the car was awful. After sitting, I had to stand for a few seconds before starting to walk. My leg was so crooked and my ankles were 12" apart. My leg was in the shape of a "K". I went from being a very active person to becoming sedentary. My quality of life was not how I wanted it so, I then decided to do something about it. Dr. Geoffrey Westrich was recommended to me and I got an appointment within two weeks. He said my knee was pretty bad and that I should do something about it sooner rather than later. My surgery was scheduled for the following month.
My surgery went very well. The physical therapy at my home went well also. Then I was on to out-patient therapy whereby my knee became stronger. After just four weeks, I was back to feeling like myself again. I am now climbing stairs "like a normal person," and I am back to walking three to four miles a day. Before my knee became bad, my routine was to walk five miles a day - this is what I had missed the most.
Lucy Van Slingerland, Pawling, NY - spine surgery, hip replacement
Dr. Darren Lebl is an amazing and talented surgeon. I was a runner and a few years ago started getting awful headaches and neck aches. I was always told that I either had a sinus infection or was under too much stress. They'd pass but only after taking Aleve and not running for a few days. I'd run through the discomfort and pain as much as possible.
In September of 2013 I had an awful headache, by far the worst I had experienced. Again pushing through it I went riding, (horses that is) something I had missed so much. I ended up jumping a nice line of fences, not something I couldn't do since I was a good rider. I went home that night and the headache was unbearable with neck pain that was even worse! I put up with it as I always did for a few days. Then I was in tears. I went to my neurologist who sent me for an MRI. That evening she called me and told me to see a surgeon ASAP for an evaluation. It was scary of course after she had told me about my spinal compression and herniated discs. I then immediately called HSS. I saw Dr. Lebl after a lot of research.
I scheduled the surgery for January 15th of 2014. It was not an easy surgery but I must add I was able to swallow with no pain almost right away. Now, I couldn't be happier. I am running, swimming, hiking, zip lining, and feeling great! No more headaches, no neck pain. Dr. Lebl is an angel to me. I would recommend him to anyone needing surgery. I truly feel wonderful thanks to Dr. Lebl.
Annette Guber, Staten Island, NY - spine surgery
After suffering for many years, I decided that my only course of action would be surgery. I researched many doctors and hospitals before choosing HSS and Dr. Alexander Hughes as my physician. I had bulging discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and arthritis. These conditions prevented me from standing for more than a few minutes and I was unable to walk one block without severe pain. Dr. Hughes suggested that I have two surgeries. First he would insert cages laterally to open up the spaces in my spine and release the nerves. Secondly, he would enter through my back and insert rods and screws to keep the spine aligned.
On March 20th, 2014, I had my surgery. What should have been a four-and-a-half hour procedure, was done in less than two hours. Dr. Hughes decided that I only needed the lateral surgery since the area opened well and the nerves were released. Immediately after surgery, my legs stopped burning and tingling. Although I still had pain, I recognized it as surgical pain that would eventually ease.
Thank you Dr. Hughes for giving me my life back. I am eternally grateful to you and to HSS.
Marilyn Ryan, Hackettstown, NJ - hip replacement
I have always been very active in my life. I'm still skating, skiing, and working out in my late 50's. Having lived in Manhattan, I loved to walk. In May, 2011, I met with Dr. Maynard regarding chronic pain in my right hip. He advised that I needed hip replacement.
Brant Reiter, Hoboken, NJ - total hip replacement, total knee replacement
I had my left hip replaced July 2013 (chronic osteoarthritis), and my right knee (an old injury) replaced in December 2013. In April 2014, less than 4 months after having the knee done, I was able to manage a rigorous 1-hour hike down a steep mountain trail to one of my favorite spots in the world, a natural desert hot spring and river called Deep Creek, located in a high desert plateau north of Lake Arrowhead in Southern California.
I was worried before the trip that I wouldn't be able to make it, but I tried my hardest in PT, got some acupuncture treatments, and then I felt I was ready, so I went for it! I was so happy to make it to the bottom and enjoy the day at the springs with my family. It was the high point of my spring vacation. My warmest thanks to Dr. Mayman and the wonderful staff at HSS!
Arthur Zaifman, Millburn, NJ - cervical spine surgery
My story began in the summer of 2013. While doing some routine neck and back stretches, I felt a sensation throughout my body similar to a "funny bone" impact. Shortly thereafter my fingers would occasionally become numb and tingle. The numbness and tingling spread to my arms and chest over the next few months. I had an x-ray/MRI and received the terrifying diagnosis that my cervical spine (C3-C7 inclusive) was severely compressing my spinal cord and that spinal cord damage had already occurred.
I was told that I needed to have a C3-C7 laminectomy with fusion from several neurosurgeons. I then discovered the Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. Russel Huang. His compassion, confidence and expertise put me at ease immediately and I finally found the doctor and hospital that I could trust.
The surgery was a success and the hospital stay was an incredible experience because of the skill and kindness of the entire staff.
I am writing this story 8 weeks after my surgery and going to the gym on a daily basis to do light workouts.
Linda Raymond, Edgewater Park, NJ – hip replacement
When I was eighteen I was in a severe car accident and shattered my left hip which left my left leg shorter than the right. At 22, I had the hip fused at a 20-degree angle and remained that way for the next 30 years. I had severe back pain and walked with a pronounced limp. After having my left knee replaced, it was recommended to me that I have the fusion taken down and my hip replaced. A friend recommended HSS and that is where I mean Dr. Mayman. From the first visit I knew he was the right doctor for me. He made me feel confident and relaxed. He replaced my hip and lengthened my leg. Now I no longer walk bent over and for the first time stand straight. What a miracle!
Alexandra Sanders, Brooklyn, NY – facet injections
After two years of severe back pain, I sought out Dr. Wyss for some pain relief. He had great bedside manner and, unlike other doctors I had met with, he diagnosed the exact cause of my pain and explained the measures I should take. When the day of the first procedure came, he ensured me that it would go flawlessly. During the procedure, he talked me through every step of it.
It was successful, and he followed up immediately. Dr. Wyss called me to talk about pain options moving forward instead of making me come into his office and miss work.
David Gelber, PhD., Cranford, NJ – hip resurfacing
In April, 2007 I was in a head on collision with a drunk driver. My femur was jammed into my hip and began a progressive deterioration of my hip joint. As the pain increased and my mobility decreased, I went through medication and injection interventions. By 2010, I was walking slowly and using a cane. Every step was agony. My active lifestyle was long gone and I finally took the step of visiting Dr. Westrich at HSS. Dr. Westrich recommended a minimally invasive hip resurfacing operation which was performed in December of 2010. Two months later, I was my old self again. I had absolutely no pain. I was back at the gym 3 days a week, hiking, canoeing, and enjoying my wife and two children as a young father should. I was no longer crippled.
Eugene Devlin, Rye, NY – leg lengthening
Dr. Rozbruch is a terrific surgeon and very caring physician. I was 67 years old when I first met with Dr. Rozbruch and several of his very capable staff. I had a shortening of my right leg of a 1 ½ inches (36mm) from complications from a club foot correction when I was very young. For my entire life I had worn a shoe with a lift and I was experiencing back and hip pain. Dr. Rozbruch and his staff gave me an extensive examination and then explained to me my options to lengthen my right tibia. What I found incredible was the follow-up four-page letter I received from Dr. Rozbruch documenting my examination and the pros and cons of proceeding with the procedure to lengthen my leg. I was so impressed with his knowledge and professionalism; I decided to go forward with the operation.
I had the surgery in November of 2012. Dr. Rozbruch used a relatively new technique using the Precice nail. The nail was inserted down the center of my tibia; the bone is surgically broken and the nail can be extended remotely to separate the bone to the desired length. Although, the recovery was no walk in the park, everything went according to the plan Dr. Rozbruch had laid out for me. His office is tech savvy and I could communicate via email to get any questions answered. Day or night I could get advice or questions answered directly from Dr. Rozbruch or his PA Dustin Quig. Knowing I could communicate directly with my doctor was very comforting.
Now, for the first time in my life, I have both legs the same length. I no longer wear a lift and I don’t walk with a limp. I feel great. I was back playing golf seven months after surgery and I resumed skiing this January without a specially-fitted ski boot.
Linda Davis, Jersey City, NJ – hip replacement
Dr. Parks operated on me a few years ago and I cannot stress how fantastic he is. I had virtually no pain and was walking normally in next to no time. Even my therapist said looking at how I walked, you would never know I had ever had surgery.
Lowell Handler, Rhinecliff, NY – spinal surgery
In the spring of 2009 Dr. Cammisa performed an anterior discectomy with the fusion of three levels of my cervical spine (C4-7), extremely successfully. I had many months of rigorous physical therapy, and am in total recovery now. Dr. Cammisa's physician’s assistant, Theresa, provided incredible support and help throughout my ordeal. She informed me that I was considered in the top 3 percentile of people recovering from this surgery. I am now exercising and living every other aspect of my life with no restrictions.
I am not a religious person; so to say it is a miracle for me is not right. But I can say that Dr. Cammisa's very thoughtful, compassionate, and expert, precision work has enabled me to have a full life again. And for this I am forever grateful.
Kathryn Yurchuk, Plattekill, NY – total left knee replacement
I had my first knee surgery back in 1985 at a local hospital. After arthroscopic surgery, I ended up with a cast all the way up my leg that weighed a ton. Three weeks later I got a blood clot in my leg and was in the hospital for 7 days to dissolve the clot. After about a month, my knee still didn't feel right so I went back to that doctor and told him something was wrong. He turned around and said, "I've done all I can, that's all I am going to do."
I dealt with the pain until 1987 when another doctor who a friend referred me to, said he would do the surgery. He said come back in two weeks for some testing and when I went back, he turned around and said that he couldn't do the surgery; that it was more involved. He then referred me to Dr. Russell Warren at Hospital for Special Surgery. I made the appointment and when Dr. Warren checked out my knee, he said, "Yes I can do the surgery."
When he did the surgery, there was a big difference from the first surgery. I had hardly no pain, there was no cast, and I didn't end up with a blood clot. He did tell me that eventually I would need a replacement. After twenty-six years, it was time for me to have the replacement. It was bone against bone and when Dr. Warren checked out my knee, he said it was time. I had the surgery in May, 2013. It's been almost five months now and I just came back from seeing Dr. Warren for a checkup. He said my xrays look good, that I should keep doing the exercises, and that he'd see me in a year. The bottom line to this story is I won't go anywhere else if I should need any more surgery. I thank the staff at Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Warren's staff, especially Roseanne, Maria and Lois, and most of all, Dr. Warren, for doing such a great job on my knee.
Tom Kelly, Westwood, NJ – revision and total knee replacement
In June, 2011, I had a total knee replacement done at a medical center in northern NJ. Despite my diligence in doing everything asked of me in PT, my knee failed to rehabilitate. At 11 weeks post op, a manipulation was performed at the same hospital and I spent the following 7 weeks using a CPM machine 5 hours per day and attending physical therapy 3 times per week, all to no avail. Six and one half months post op, the surgeon performed a synovial fluid aspiration which was positive for a staph infection. At this point, I sought a second opinion.
A friend put me in touch with Dr. Alejandro Gonzalez Delle Valle at HSS, who saw me immediately when he learned that I had an infected knee. Right from my first meeting with Dr. Della Valle I knew I was in good hands. He repeated the aspiration and explained in detail what needed to be done. I was fast tracked on the OR schedule, met with Dr. Mary K who saw me every day while I was an inpatient, and the revision was begun. The prosthesis was removed, articulating spacers inserted and a Picc line placed. I began a 6 week regime of powerful IV antibiotics prescribed by infectious disease specialist, Dr. Andy Miller. I should also mention that because of the skill of my anesthesiologist, Dr. Daniel Maalouf, my newly revised knee was as comfortable as I could reasonably expect.
I was at HSS for one week, and then at Helen Hayes Hospital for 5 more weeks if rehab. Eight weeks later in March, 2012 I returned to Dr. Della Valle, who removed the spacers and inserted a new knee replacement. Within 2 months, I was once again able to walk without pain. After another 2 months, I was riding my bike several miles.
This past May, 2013, I returned to HSS and Dr. Della Valle replaced my other knee. And again, for the third time, Dr. Maalouf's skill kept me as as comfortable as possible.
Here I am now, 5 months after my second TKR, and I am able to walk 2 miles, play golf and ride a bike. How great is that? The experiences I had with my doctors and everyone at HSS was superior in every way.
Mark Glowatz, Locust Valley, NY – total shoulder replacement
When cortisone injections failed to relieve the pain in my worn out right shoulder, I visited Dr. Gulotta. He described the procedure, risks and probable outcome and inspired total confidence. My fears of horrible pain from the operation were completely unfounded. Thanks to a nerve block used on my shoulder during the operation, there was no pain at all for the first day or two and then very little after that. It's now going on eight weeks post surgery and I'm able to do things with my shoulder that I could not do for the last several years. Dr. Gulotta showed me my xray at the first post-op visit. I saw my new shoulder and I remember telling my wife how beautiful I thought it was!
Eric Johnson, Norwalk, CT – ACL/meniscus repair surgery
In High School football, I tore my ACL just before my senior season as a captain. My goal was to get back to playing form in time for college rugby in the fall. I re-tore my ACL that spring and again, I had it fixed. After lots of rehab, I felt great and got back to rugby. After a great season in college, I moved on to play men's Division I rugby in the United States. However, a few years later, I felt like something wasn't quite right in my knee. I spoke with my original knee doctor and was told I could never play rugby again. I then sought out Dr. Russell Warren. One year later, I'm starting every game for my team. My knee feels better than ever. I laugh when I think back to my original doctor who told me I would never play again.
Jennifer B., Monmouth Junction, NJ – limb lengthening surgery
For as long as I can remember, I always had problems with my feet and legs. I was born with severe knock-knees and pronated feet (valgus deformities). I walked awkwardly and always with pain. As a kid, because of the way my legs were, I could never learn to run or to ride a bike. I couldn't walk more than a short distance without needing to rest. In school, physical education was a disaster since I couldn't run or even walk fast (and gym teachers weren't always sympathetic). I couldn't even escape my leg problems when I was asleep, because a sudden pain or leg cramp would often wake me up. I went to doctors, but they were never able to help me. The only thing they had to say was that I would "just have to learn to live with it."
But then in 2012, at age 24, I met Dr. Rozbruch and everything changed.
Now my legs are straight and I can walk without pain! I can go up and down stairs using alternate steps - something I could never do before. I have no more pain at night and can walk a mile. The contrast between my day-to-day quality of life before surgery and my day-to-day life now is amazing. Dr. Rozbruch and HSS changed my life.
Chris Venis, Hillsborough, NJ – spine surgery
A common question following surgery from friends and loved ones is, "how are you feeling?" It is very simple, Wow! After an exhaustive search for the right doctor, I am happy to report that the wait was worth it. Dr. Matthew Cunningham is second to none.
Dr. Cunningham, well known for his more complicated cases, took my herniated disc/stenosis case. He and his staff worked quickly to get me into the office as my pain was debilitating. His diagnosis was perfect; he spent quality time with me and answered all the questions I had. What impressed me the most was his calm and comforting demeanor.
Faith Selchick, RN, Suffern, NY – pain management for CRPS
I am a 28 year old nurse who has been treated at HSS for 10 years. In 2002, I was the passenger in a motor vehicle collision and suffered trauma to my right knee, tearing both the medial and lateral meniscus. After enduring two surgeries (at another institution) in an attempt to repair and subsequently remove the tears in my knee, my pain was becoming increasingly severe. I was unable to attend school and was forced to give up running, my passion in life.
Feeling defeated, I came to Hospital for Special Surgery to meet with Seth Waldman, MD. Dr. Waldman confirmed a diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in my bilateral lower extremities. He took me under his care, instilled hope in me and forever changed my world. For the first time, I felt optimistic that I would recover and regain my life. Dr. Waldman began a multi-modal treatment plan, which included a variety of medications and nerve blocks. An inpatient Ketamine infusion gave me relief from the magnitude of CRPS for the first time, a treatment I continue today.
Daniel J. Ordan, Riverdale, NY – cyst aspiration in lieu of spine surgery
On Tuesday, April 9th, Dr. Seth Waldman, Director of the Division of Pain Management at Hospital for Special Surgery, diagnosed a 3 cm. ganglion cyst compressing the peroneal nerve of my right leg - 5.5 ml of fluid was aspirated.
Why is that significant? Because eight other doctors, affiliated with four other teaching hospitals in New York City, diagnosed my problem as stemming from a herniated disk compressing the nerve at the L5/S1 level.
Why is it significant that Dr. Waldman made his diagnosis on Tuesday, April 9th? Because two surgeons, one specializing in neurosurgery and the second in minimally invasive spine surgery, were originally scheduled to operate on my back that day.
How can I thank Dr. Waldman for his insight, creativity and care in hopefully determining and resolving the root cause of my problem? Perhaps it is too soon to determine if it is a permanent fix, but I can report that I am feeling better. As Dr. Waldman predicted, slight twinges continue, and some foot discomfort remains, but nothing of the torturous pain previously experienced.
Jaime, New York, NY – flexor tendon repair
As a trained dancer, who has performed professionally, I had never really lost mobility anywhere in my body. Then on Memorial Day 2012, I accidently cut my right pinky at the lower joint, while using a knife to make a sandwich. Seeing my limp finger just hanging there was a scary thing.
I feel so fortunate to have found Steve K. Lee, MD and Hospital for Special Surgery.
I am forever grateful to the emergency department specialist who recommended that I see Dr. Lee. He definitely helped me to find the path I needed for the fine care that I received. Today, a year following the accident, 99 percent of my mobility is back!
Thank you Dr. Lee for helping to make this Memorial Day much better than last year!
Don Davis, New Paltz, NY - limb lengthening surgery
I created the Survival Of the Shawangunks Triathlon (SOS) twenty-eight years ago. I did my first NYC Marathon in 1977 and have enjoyed running, cycling, and swimming my entire adult life. I founded the New York Triathlete Association that is dedicated to cardio vascular fitness through the sport of triathlon. SOS starts with a 30 mile bike ride and is followed by a 4.5-mile run, 1.1-mile swim, 5.5-mile run, .5-mile swim, 8-mile run, .5-mile swim, and a .7-mile run.
In 2011, I was competing in a triathlon in Hawaii when I had a bike accident that shattered my femur. The surgeon in Hawaii did a great initial job but the femur did not heal properly and I lost about an inch of my left leg.
Triathlon training, competition, and production is a large part of my life. I was lucky to have been referred to Dr. Rozbruch. As a cyclist himself, he realized how important it was for me to keep my lifestyle of fitness through the sport of triathlon. He treated me as an individual not as just some old guy who wants to run.
Dr. Rozbruch re-broke my femur and straightened the fulcrum of the bone. I am now running, biking, and swimming again.
Dov G., Englewood, NJ – osteotomy, tibial torsion correction
Throughout my life I have loved sports and outdoor recreation, especially running. Unfortunately, by 2003, when I was only 25, my right knee was in a lot of pain after each run. After seeing a number of doctors, they all said I had a torn meniscus and that I needed surgery. Post-surgery and rehab, I slowly started taking up running again and competed in multiple races including the NYC marathon in 2010. However, my right knee always hurt and over the years I saw many of what were, supposedly, the best orthopedic surgeons in NYC. They all said the same thing - stop running and swim or take up cycling, do more physical therapy, or have more knee surgery - all bad choices from my perspective.
Finally, after years of pain, a wonderful orthopedic surgeon in NY did a physical examination of me and said the underlying problem was that I had a significant tibial torsion, and the only solution was to correct the torsion or stop running altogether because it was destroying my knee. At least I finally had a correct diagnosis.
I spent the next year researching tibial torsion correction and speaking to the small number of doctors in the US that perform this operation regularly. I was very fortunate to discover the Limb Lengthening and Complex Reconstruction Service operated by Dr. Rozbruch in NYC.
Upon meeting Dr. Rozbruch, he took a significant amount of time to physically examine me, listen to my story, as well as study my MRI's etc. He explained how he would fix my tibial torsion with a surgery called an osteotomy and put a Taylor Spacial Frame external fixation device on my leg. Over a 1 month period, I would then turn my leg 1 degree each day until it was straight. He reviewed in detail exactly how long the entire process would take and when I could expect to be active again. He then answered my follow-up questions regarding the surgery in a timely manner, treating me with respect and understanding. He even agreed to meet me a few more times in his office to reassure me regarding my fears of the surgery.
I had an osteotomy at HSS in April of 2011, and had my Taylor Spacial Frame removed at the beginning of August 2011. During this period Dr. Rozbruch and his wonderful team at the LLCR service corrected my right tibia by 30 degrees and it now is completely straight! I was running again (slowly) by January 2012. I currently feel great, and recently ran a marathon in 3:15, and a half marathon in 1:25 (both personal records for me). I am incredibly grateful to Dr Rozbruch and his team at LLCR Service for doing an amazing job.
Additionally, the physical therapy team at the HSS rehab center did a great job getting me back on my feet and active again in only a few months.
I am telling this story after seeing and experiencing the incredible work that Dr. Rozbruch has done to better peoples’ lives when conventional medical advice is to say, “stop running,” or, “there is nothing we can do,” or “have more needless knee surgery”. I hope that others with limb discrepancies and other similar issues can be healed by Dr. Rozbruch's fine work.
Mary Dotzauer, Belmar, New Jersey – knee replacement
When the arthritis in my knees finally stopped me from travelling, playing golf and enjoying life, I decided to take action. I called HSS and was referred to Dr. Mayman for minimally invasive knee replacement surgery. I had my left knee done in Jan '12 and it went so well, I did my right knee Nov '12! If anyone had told me I would do both knees in one year, I would have laughed. Dr. Mayman and staff are the best....
Alan Dumain, Richmond Hill, NY - hip replacement
I have cycled since I was 20 years old. I regularly cycle between 150 and 200 miles per week from April through October. In the winter, I take spin class 4 times a week. I participate in three to four triathlon relays a year. I cycle along with two of my children who round out my team. Every year, I also do a 110 mile ride with 8500 feet of elevation gain. Thank you Dr. Mayman and HSS, for making this all possible.
Allen Samuelowitz, Smithtown, New York – Injection
I went to see Dr. Cunningham after two years of going from doctor to doctor, all in vain. I am a retired physical education teacher with a chronically bad back and many disc problems. Dr. Cunningham listened, asked many questions, and, besides his brilliant mind, had such compassion, humility, and humanity! I immediately knew I was at the right place, and in the right hands. Then my world changed again. Dr. Cunningham put me in touch with another true gem of a doctor and person - Dr. James Wyss; a caring, expertly gifted doctor, who began a series of spinal injections. The quality of my life has returned and I have improved 100%! Thank you Drs. Cunningham and Wyss. There really are no words to describe my gratitude to you and your wonderful staffs!
Romano Robert Vanderbes, New York, NY – tendon transfer and ankle distraction
In 1954, I was 16 years old and living in Amsterdam where I was attending secondary school. I was diagnosed with a reuscel tumor (a benign soft tissue tumor just below the knee). The tumor was removed but the surgery resulted in a drop foot. For a number of years, I managed with a variety of devices: braces, booties, cowboy boots. Here, creativity was definitely rewarded.
Some years later in 1958, I was living in New York and consulted a neurologist. From that quarter came little hope, but he referred me to Dr. Wilson at HSS. Dr. Wilson and Dr. Rolla Campbell suggested a two-part procedure: 1) a triple arthrodesis (a partial ankle fusion) for ankle stability and 2) a tendon rerouting procedure; tendons from the side of the ankle were to be rerouted through the internal membrane to the top of the foot to provide a measure of dorsiflexion (up and down movement). This would correct the drop foot condition. Both procedures were done and I healed like I had visited Lourdes.
For the next forty years I could run, play tennis, even play surf bum in Hawaii for a brief interlude and drink in the best bars. This was my HSS triumph #1.
Unfortunately, as karma has it, a price had to be paid at some point. The left ankle trauma of the fifties resulted in gradual arthritis which developed in my tibia-ankle joint. At the time, artificial replacement ankle joints available in the US had a reputation of being only slightly better than used bicycle parts.
I then did some late night internet research and came across 'distraction therapy' which was developed in my old home country, The Netherlands, by a group of orthopedic specialists using a non-invasive procedure called the Ilizarov frame.
About eight years ago, I spoke with Dr. Figgie (an HSS top ankle specialist) and asked him about 'distraction therapy' for ankle arthritis. He replied that he had no direct experience with distraction, but should I wish to explore that topic, the man to be contacted was Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch.
A few calls were made and a week later I saw Dr. Rozbruch at HSS. I realized he might be the answer to my problem and we scheduled the completely non-invasive procedure - left ankle distraction arthroplasty. Six months later, I was walking around London not feeling any ankle joint pain.
Delusional ideas of auditioning for the Sadler Wells Ballet did drift through my subconscious, forgive me. In seven years I've not felt the old ankle joint. This was my HSS Triumph #2.
Layla Alvandi, New York, NY – spine surgery
As a fifteen year old, I had scoliosis surgery done in Houston, Texas, which, ten years later, I learned would require revisions. I had since relocated in New York and naturally researched surgeons in the city to help me consider the best options for retaining mobility as well as reducing pain. Fortunately, I chose to consult with Dr. Matthew Cunningham.
I immediately found his pleasant demeanor and thoughtful manner, while also taking the time to thoroughly address all of my concerns, to be a perfect doctor/ patient fit. He skillfully and thoroughly, took the time necessary to explain clearly what was going on in my spine. He clarified exactly what my x-rays showed and offered a specific treatment plan while also making sure that it made perfect sense to me.
Following spinal injections and physical therapy, I had revision surgeries done in May 2011, November 2012 and December 2012, at HSS with Dr. Cunningham. It would have been impossible to undergo this amount of revision surgery without the genuine support and caring concern of Dr. Cunningham and his outstanding office staff. Without Tina Miller's organized professionalism and concern for detail, I could not have scheduled and successfully completed the three surgeries and hospital stays.
Katherine W., Rexford, NY - bilateral hip replacements
I am delighted to write while on my Colorado ski vacation, 9 months after undergoing simultaneous bilateral hip replacement surgery. I had thought my surgery would have caused me to sit out this season. Instead, I am enjoying my legs, which are stronger and more reliable than they’ve been in years. The victory - made possible by HSS and Dr. Mayman - is so sweet. And the ski runs this week were more gratifying than ever.
Local physicians had told me I needed hip surgery, but that I should “live with it as long as possible."
I urge patients, if they are dedicated to do regular fitness workouts after surgery, to not wait. Get yourself back into the pursuits you love sooner rather than later and you too will feel like smiling from the top of a mountain.
Douglas Warshaw, New York, NY - comprehensive rehabilitation
I've certainly had my share of operations, orthopedic and otherwise. I've had my knee basically replaced and I've had it scoped. I've had a ruptured achilles repaired and a rotator cuff rebuffed. There's more, but I'll stop here. My point is, I've seen my share of hospitals and I've seen my share of doctors - and I love Dr. Wyss and his office. His analytical approach and ability to work with different insurance providers (within and outside of HSS), has made an enormous difference, and impressed me greatly.
As any patient who hasn't found a quick one-visit remedy knows, one of the most difficult parts about trying to find the answer is getting the various practitioners involved to efficiently (and economically) communicate with one another. Dr. Wyss (and his office) have been spectacular in this area.
I keep saying "and his office" because as any patient with half a brain knows, a good percentage of one's time is spent interacting not only with the doctor, but with the doctor's office getting test results, lab reports, bills and, oh yes, appointments.
With Dr. Wyss, I not only feel that I'm in good care, but just as importantly, I feel like I'm in the hands of somebody who truly cares.
Cindy Fox, Ossining, NY – shoulder surgery
I had been in unbelievable agony because of a torn rotator cuff but I did not want surgery at first - especially because on two prior occasions, physical therapy had worked. When it became obvious that I had to have surgery, Dr. Coleman operated very quickly and the care I received was outstanding. His physician assistant, Kira Levyk, is amazing as well. She is very talented and very smart. Kira is also incredibly responsive to patient needs. They are quite a team and deserve a great deal of recognition for their undying efforts in caring for patients.
Maryellen Heller, Danbury, CT – partial knee replacement
As a high school Special ED, English, and reading teacher, I am required to walk from one end of the building to the other several times a day. I was doing this with a very painful right knee. But I did this and walked my two miles a day. After two arthroscopic surgeries, shots, and draining, my knee was still not right.
My orthopedic surgeon at that time told me to keep my weight down and my muscle built up in it until I could take time off and have a total knee replacement. My youngest daughter told me I needed to come down to HSS and have this surgery. At the very least, she said to come see Dr. David Mayman.
The next week, we took a trip down to Dr. Mayman’s office. After more x-rays and an MRI, Dr. Mayman told me I had a choice of a full knee replacement or a partial one. I opted for the partial knee replacement. I called the parents of my students, talked to my Principal, and three weeks later, had the surgery. No one believed that I would be able to be back to work three weeks following the surgery, but I was.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Mayman and his team using a robot named Luke. I marveled at all the tools set up in front of me as well as the parts. I felt like I was in a hardware store and the project the doctors and the robot were working on was me!
Three days later I was home and I began my PT right away. The physical therapist told me that at the beginning she was never sure that I would regain full extension of my knee. But with her help and guidance I did. I went back to work three weeks later and felt no pain. In fact, I was wearing two inch sandals the first day back.
I cannot begin to thank my daughter and Dr. Mayman. His staff helped make this such a positive and successful experience. I made them a book (children's book) to show my appreciation and sent them an Incredible Edible gift basket but it doesn't even come close to expressing the gratitude I feel every single day. I walk at least two miles every day and five or six on weekends when I have more time. I can even jog now which is something I've not been able to do for years.
Jonathan Pino, Hillsborough, NJ – PRP injections, epidural
When I heard that I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia Patella back in 2011, I expected a quick fix. Soon, I found myself moving from doctor to doctor in the immediate Central Jersey. As my doctor visits accumulated, so did my variety of tests. (X-rays, MRI's, CT scan, and eventually surgery). Following my surgery in November 2011, my doctor said I would be running in five weeks. I was lucky to have five minutes to talk with him after waiting an hour to see him.
I couldn't walk without limping for five weeks, and I developed severe back issues during my recovery. Needless to say my outlook was dim, and I had been given the run-around yet again. Enter Dr. Wyss. From my first visit with Dr. Wyss, I couldn’t have been happier with the decision I made. Dealing with a chronic knee condition involves patience, knowing your limitations, and dedication. He discussed my condition in thorough fashion, provided a detailed outline of options, but most importantly, he gave me hope and assurance.
The thing I'm most impressed about with Dr. Wyss is his immediacy in responding to inquiries. I've emailed him several times a day, on weekends, and sometimes holidays. I don’t know any other doctor that would do that for one of their patients. Although I may still have a long road ahead,
Virginia Dunphy, Hackettstown, NJ – full knee replacement
In June, Dr. Mayman did a revision on my left knee. Previously I had an Oxford unilateral knee replacement, a second surgery to replace a small plastic disc, and was left with continual pain and a pronounced limp. On my first visit to Dr. Mayman’s office, he assured me that, yes, I needed a full replacement, but the quality of my life would be improved. That was an understatement.
As I ponder the many people and things for which I am thankful, Dr. Mayman is at the top of my list. Through his surgery, my physical therapist, and the advice, commitment, and support offered by both, I feel like a new person.
Perhaps the greatest testimony I could give you would come from my students. I teach high school and was in the building a few days before school opened. I overheard a student say, “I thought that was Mrs. Dunphy for a moment, but she doesn’t have a limp.” When I turned around to face them, the shock on their faces and genuine happiness was evident. And at that time, I was still in physical therapy! I know I will be a few weeks late for my check-up, but I am coaching a winter sport again (another activity I have not been able to do for years) and will make an appointment as soon as it is over. My daughter is studying in Scotland this semester and I will be traveling with my family overseas to visit her - again, something I would not have been able to do a short year ago.
We have a trip to the highlands planned, and none of this would have been possible without Dr. Mayman’s skills and expertise. Words will never convey my sincere appreciation for giving me back my life. I am so thankful to Dr. Mayman and to everyone I met at and through HSS. I will continue to share my good fortune through recommendation to any person who asks where I had my surgery preformed.
Rose Steinberg, New York, NY – lumbar epidural injections
After more than 6 months of an agonizing condition which left my hip and Sacroilliac Joint injured, Dr. Wyss was the first doctor to identify the source of all my pain and medical problems. I spent many months in bed, not able to stand, sit, or walk without experiencing excruciating pain. I was essentially bound to my bed. After 5 injections to my hip, SI joint, and spine, under the care of another doctor and medical institution, there was progress but not a solution. Then I started slipping backwards towards immobility once again and I decided I needed another opinion. That is when I was introduced to Dr. Wyss at HSS.
Dr. Wyss was extremely thorough - more thorough in his examination than any other specialist I'd seen. The fellow working with him was the same. In my first visit, he identified a herniated disk and began a course of lumbar epidural injections which have helped me tremendously. While it's unclear whether I will need to have surgery to completely take care of this problem,
The office is managed flawlessly. They care about their patients and they managed to help me get injections urgently, especially when I know it wasn't easy to make it happen. Thank you Dr. Wyss!
Cara Harris, Pennsburg, PA – spinal surgery
Dr. Matthew E. Cunningham, I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for changing my quality of life. You have given me a second chance living full quality with my children. My three-year-old says she can't wait for me to get better so I can run and jump with her. As for my ten year old son, he probably can't wait until I need him a little less to pitch in with everyday duties around the house. But seriously, I can already feel a difference in the way I feel as far as walking or standing in place for lengths at a time.
Seven months ago, when I was encouraged by my family and friends to seek help and advice about the condition of my back and the pain I endured, I was skeptical. Before arriving at your office I went through a long, excruciating process with a couple surgeons. One of which told me because of my age and the severity of my curve; he wouldn't recommend surgery because he wouldn't be able to correct me enough that would make a difference. His advice to me was to do physical therapy and to get fitted for a shoe lift.
When I arrived in New York at HSS for the first time, I immediately realized I found an amazing, warm environment with caring, intelligent professionals who could possibly advise me to make the right decision for my future.
Dr. Cunningham, I have never met such a warm, compassionate, caring, confident, and detail oriented doctor as yourself. You have an incredible bedside manner and an amazing way of talking with your patients about the procedures that will occur which definitely eased my mind and lessened my fear. Thank you again for the exceptional care I received the second time around at HSS. You have gone above and beyond protocol to ensure quality care.
Lawrence Link, Brooklyn, NY – surgical repair of a shattered heel
If you are reading this story, you are probably in a moment of decision, and perhaps a bit scared for yourself or someone you love. Early in 2012, I suffered a shattered right heel from a 20-foot fall, so I remember being in that moment of uncertainty myself, not knowing who or how to choose for this critical decision.
From the moment I met Dr. Matthew Roberts and his staff at HSS, the fear and uncertainty disappeared. I was 100% certain I had made the right choice.
From the very beginning, Dr. Roberts and his staff made special accommodations for me to have an immediate appointment on the very next morning. He patiently listened to me as I explained what happened, answered all my questions, and explained in great detail exactly what would be required next. His calm manner, in-depth knowledge and obvious care for my personal well-being put me at ease immediately and helped me to feel much less scared about the surgery.
The surgery to repair and reconstruct my foot went perfectly, as planned. During my two-day hospital stay, the rooms were clean and comfortable and everyone on staff at HSS was deeply concerned with my comfort and care.
Greg Young, Redding, CT – limb lengthening surgery
The events that transpired since my horrific ski accident left me feeling as though I would never walk again much less ski with my children. I had shattered both my tibia and fibula, and had eight surgeries prior to visiting Dr. Fragomen’s office. It has now been nine months since my last surgery and I am at Sunday River, a ski resort in Maine. I have donned my skis, and am skiing with my 11 year-old daughter, who wants to be a professional snow board rider when she grows up. This has been a very special weekend.
This weekend also served as a trial run, as my girlfriend, Cathy and I are getting married, slope-side, in December. All four of our children will be present. All this has been made possible by the hard work of Dr. Fragomen and all his colleagues at Hospital for Special Surgery.
Toby L’Estrange, New York, NY – ORIF distal radius fracture
I fractured my distal radius playing a game of rugby in June this year. It was a complicated injury due to the proximity of the fracture to the wrist and I was put in touch with Dr. Steve Lee and his team at the HSS. From the moment I saw Dr. Lee, I was completely at ease and fully confident in his advice to operate a few days later. I felt very lucky to be part of a methodical and efficient set up.
It all started with Tom and Jen in Dr. Lee's office. They were extremely friendly and helpful. It included very well prepared nursing and support staff prior to and following my operation. And of course, it included Dr. Lee's great skill to fix my wrist in a complicated procedure.
After 3 months of therapy to reestablish strength and movement in my wrist, I was cleared to start playing again. Two weeks later, I was lucky enough to make my international debut for the United States rugby team on their fall tour of Europe. I have no doubt that I owe a lot of this honor to Dr. Lee for his treatment.
Howard Hogan, Asbury Park, NJ, – bilateral hip replacement
This past summer I had extreme pain and discomfort in both hips due to advanced arthritis. My daily activities were extremely limited and sleeping was nearly impossible. This was until Dr. Mayman performed a bilateral hip replacement and got me on the road to recovery. I was on my feet the morning following surgery - amazing!
Sally Anderson, Jacksonville, FL – tibial revision of total knee replacement
When I was 34, I had my first total knee replacement due to traumatic arthritis from a sports injury. As the saying goes, “once an athlete, always an athlete.” Six months following this replacement, I was back on the sand playing the best volleyball of my life. You can imagine my distress and confusion when, a year later, I was nearly crippled with pain and disability worse than pre-op.
Despite the original surgeon acknowledging that my tibial prosthesis was hanging over the bone, he told me just to accept the pain and disability as part of a total knee replacement. This had been my ninth knee surgery, on top of the 20 other surgeries I underwent to control a chronic pain condition that had been triggered by the original injury.
After fighting so hard to control my pain and have a normal activity level, I was not willing to accept a lifetime of crippling pain and inactivity. While an esteemed surgeon at another hospital was able to clearly diagnose the tibial implant in my leg as being both too large and in the wrong position, they were not supportive of my desire to return to semi-competitive beach volleyball. I was told to stop playing in order for them to operate.
A colleague of mine then recommended Hospital for Special Surgery. Following a search of the HSS physician profiles for a surgeon I thought might be a good fit, I selected Dr. David Mayman in hopes he would be willing to consider my goals and offer me alternatives more consistent with my lifestyle. While I was certainly impressed with his compassion, intelligence, and determination after just the initial consult, it was his personal efforts to collaborate my care with local providers, his patient and personal responses to all my questions, and his consideration of my pain management needs that won my lifetime loyalty and respect.
Dr. Mayman is one of those rare physicians who practice their craft as a calling rather than a job. He is a true healer. What is even more stunning, is that this professionalism and passion for treating the whole person is evident throughout the entire HSS spectrum of care. I was especially touched by the exhaustive efforts of Heather W. and Kathleen H. in Dr. Mayman's office to help me plan my trip and coordinate my care as I traveled from FL to NY over the Christmas holiday to have surgery. They never failed to cheerfully and efficiently respond to me. Not only was my tibia revised (the original part was removed and replaced with the proper prosthetic), but my pain condition was so well managed, it never reared its head and remains in remission.
Three years later, at 39, I have won two beach volleyball championships, am kickboxing with a world-ranked trainer. I have had neither pain nor any limitations. I'd say I choose well! “Thank you” will never be sufficient to describe the gratitude I feel to Dr. Mayman and the entire HSS family.
Holly Decaro, Weston, CT – spine surgery
It is rare to find a specialist that is not only knowledgeable and professional, but compassionate as well. I had scoliosis surgery in April and Dr. Cunningham and his assistant, Tina, were the best I have ever met.
I have worked with doctors for 8 years and Dr. Cunningham was so patient and kind. My choice of physicians to do this surgery was well researched, but you can't do a search on bedside manner. He was fantastic and I just can't say enough about how pleased I am with the surgery. It has been 6 months and I am still healing, but I am confident that I will fully recover.
I would recommend that anyone considering spinal surgery turn to the expert staff at HSS.
Richard Reichle, Marlton, New Jersey – spinal fusion surgery
After my first back surgery in Sept 2011, which was done elsewhere, I didn't improve and it was a bad experience overall. So with my wife's help, we started looking for a second opinion. After hearing what Dr. Cunningham and his team did for a co-worker of mine, I called for a consult and was able to get in to see him very quickly which was a pleasant surprise.
Never before did I have a doctor spend so much time with my wife and me, explaining exactly what he saw and what he thought he could do for me. Dr. Cunningham is tremendous and his team is the epitome of efficient! His office manager, Tina, before I was ever seen, had set aside two surgery dates for me so if surgery was the answer, I wouldn't have to wait months for it. That meant a great deal to me because I was in considerable pain and they really were concerned and wanted to help me.
Surgery was the last thing I expected, but considering that I had two epidurals with months of therapy after my first surgery, Dr. Cunningham was certain that fusion surgery was my best option for relief. Within a month of my first visit, I had all of my pre-op tests done and even took a class on what to expect before and after surgery.
Dr. Cunningham did the fusion and four days later I was home! Now, I am recovering slowly but surely and it is so comforting to know that if I have a question or concern, help is just an email or phone call away.
It is worth the 200 mile round-trip we undertake every time I have an appointment, and I feel very fortunate to have been pointed in Dr. Cunningham's direction.
Robert Kelly, Wayne, NJ – bilateral hip resurfacing
Unfortunately I don't have any action photos to share about how I'm able to go back to mountain climbing or downhill ski racing. I'm just an "average Joe" who had a relatively active lifestyle until osteoarthritis got the best of my hips. It took a lot of convincing before I was ready to accept that I needed surgical intervention to alleviate my worsening hip pain. When I met with Dr. Mayman about my options, he gave me the reassurance that I was looking for, that I could return to the active lifestyle I once knew.
After my first hip resurfacing procedure I was amazed at how fast I was able to regain the movement and range of motion with my affected hip. Within 8 months, I was back at HSS for the other side and that outcome surpassed my already high expectations with HSS and Dr. Mayman.
Jeffrey Pullen, Burtonsville, MD – double hip replacement
I have been battling arthritis in both hips for many years. This has limited my mobility and in some cases, I had to use a cane to walk. During this time, I saw many different doctors who gave me differing opinions on what to do, from losing weight to taking medication. Some doctors even stated that I was too young (in my 40s) for such a procedure. One Sunday morning, I was watching a segment on joint replacements on CBS Sunday Morning where HSS was mentioned. After the show, I investigated the information and found out that the facility was one of the top-ranked orthopedic hospitals in the US. After validating that my insurance would cover a visit, I set up an appointment, and was referred to Dr. Nestor.
Cathy Rochford, Long Beach, NY – spine surgery
On March 14, 2012, at the age of 52, I had spinal fusion surgery of T3 - L4 by the brilliant Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei. My experience was great starting with Dr. Boachie and his wonderful office staff (Lindy, Tom, Theresa and Cynthia). They were always helpful with any of my questions or concerns and would always calm my fears.
The wonderful care continued at HSS. My pre-op testing was a long day and I was treated by the most professional, courteous and understanding staff that put me at ease. The day of surgery, that care continued. I was treated so well I couldn't believe how calm I was. My anesthesiologist, Dr. Michael Urban was wonderful and checked on me days after to monitor my pain. Most importantly, my family was treated very well and was kept well informed during my 7-hour surgery. During my 10-day stay at HSS, the treatment I received by doctors, nurses, aides, PT, even housekeeping, was extraordinary! It has been 3 months and I can't believe how great I am doing. HSS is the best hospital and Dr. Boachie is amazing! Thank you to all.
Rick Tully, Merrick, NY – hip resurfacing and hip replacement
Being an ice hockey goalie for over 40 years had wreaked havoc on both of my hips, but I still wanted to continue to play. In January of 2009, I had hip resurfacing done by Dr. Geoffrey Westrich at HSS. Obviously, I was concerned that this type of operation would be the end of my playing days but Dr. Westrich assured me that it would not. He was right. By June of 2009, I was back skating on the ice, though not yet playing goal.
In September, I resumed playing goal and have been doing so ever since. People were amazed that I could still perform after having the surgery. Fast forward to April of 2012, the week after my hockey season ended, I had a full hip replacement on my other hip. Once again I have been assured by Dr. Westrich that I will be able to resume playing hockey by the fall.
Dr. Westrich and the entire staff at HSS are amazing people.
Tara Bulzacchelli, Pleasant Valley, NY – left knee reconstruction surgery
We have been blessed with five HSS doctors. Two years ago, our son had a devastating knee injury that carried a high rate of disability. In addition, he developed compartment syndrome, which carries a high rate of amputation. Our home-town surgeon had only seen three such injuries in his entire career. He told us our son would be disabled and faced developing early arthritis.
As our son remained in ICU, we were warned of his poor prognosis. Then, a miracle happened - Dr. Widmann from HSS returned my call at 11:30 at night and arranged our son’s transfer to New York. By morning, top surgeons from Hospital for Special Surgery were reconstructing his knee. Dr. Anil Ranawat repaired the multi-ligament injuries he sustained and Dr. Lorich repaired his tibial plateau fracture. Both Dr. Lorich and Dr. Ranawat were wonderful. Dr. Ranawat had the most involvement with our son because he had to reconstruct the ligaments in stages. He and his PA, Priya, were always available. Dr. Lorich assured us our son would walk again and gave us hope.
After reconstruction, which took about a year, our son was able to walk again, up to a few miles a day. As expected, although he is only a teenager, he developed early osteoarthritis of the knee – a common outcome following a dislocated knee with a tibial plateau fracture. This is where Dr. Wickiewicz came in. He’s a wonderful orthopedic surgeon from HSS who specializes in osteoarthritis of the knee. Luckily, we didn’t have to look far to find him. He had already performed one surgery on our son’s knee which greatly improved his ability to walk further and with less pain.
In addition to these wonderful surgeons, Dr. Ngeow from HSS Pain Management, also cared for our son. Dr. Ngeow has been compassionate and knowledgeable in finding solutions to arthritis and nerve pain. He too is always available and takes time to listen. My son would not be walking had he not received the care of these four dedicated doctors.
Joe Salem, Oxford, CT – hip resurface surgery
Dr. Su performed hip resurface surface to my right hip on 4/20/12. I could not be happier with the outcome thus far. The professionalism of the whole HSS staff is apparent from the gentleman who greats you at the entrance at 6 am to the top surgeon. The nursing staff is top notch! It was truly a gift to find HSS and to have my surgery performed by Dr. Su and his assistant Victoria. I would highly recommend HSS in any of their specialties.
Stephanie Gray, Hamden, CT – total knee revision surgery
About a year and a half ago I was having trouble with my left knee. It had been replaced when I was in my late forties and had served me well for about 14 years. Unfortunately, I aggravated the knee and, after having fluid removed and tested, it was determined to be very inflamed and possibly infected. I was an avid exerciser and this news meant only one thing - I wouldn’t be able to race walk or continue to teach aerobics!
After seeing my original surgeon and several highly recommended orthopedists, I became discouraged with one singular conclusion - I needed my prosthesis replaced as soon as possible. Even with debilitating pain I was not ready to be out of commission. I had eight previous surgeries on the same knee and was not ready for another operation! Feeling very frustrated, I decided to turn to the internet. I looked up "top orthopedic doctors" and found Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. David Mayman. After reviewing my case, Dr. Mayman agreed to see me. He listened to my concerns with understanding and empathy and posed several options, one of which being a “redo” of my knee. Although I did have a total revision of my knee, Dr. Mayman was unbiased in his recommendations and in no way suggested what decision I should make.
I lived three hours away and didn’t know how all the particulars of going there for surgery and returning home for aftercare would work out. I never stopped to think that people from all over the world go there for care. However, I wanted the best possible outcome. My choice to go with Dr. Mayman at HSS was carefully debated and also proved to be an effortless one. From the moment I decided to have surgery, the hospital literally took care of my every need. All arrangements were made from my pre-op visit to my physical therapy back home. I only had to think about resting up for surgery.
I was moving, extending and flexing my knee the first day after surgery. I returned to work five weeks afterward and, although I am getting a little slower, I am back to walking three to five miles almost every day. I recently tore the meniscus in my right knee and prevailed on Dr. Mayman a second time with great results. While I don’t anticipate any surgical needs in the near future, I know just where to go!
Celine Read, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - tibia and ankle
In the middle of a long weekend, living on an island, it is not rare to find almost everyone at the beach. That’s were it all happened. On January 29, 2012, I was with a friend riding in a beach car. Being in the passenger seat wasn’t much of an advantage, because minutes later the little car that seemed harmless was over my right leg. I remember how I didn't even feel the tears running down my face. It was a sudden shock. When the car was lifted up, I felt like somebody had ripped off my right leg from the knee down. I couldn't even breathe right. When they picked me up, I saw my jingly leg, as if I had 3 more knees. I was taken to the smallest hospital in the little town we were in, miles and miles away from the city. The ride seems like a dream today. I remember telling my mom to calm down, as my dad tried to assimilate everything that had happened in just 3 minutes.
My life had turned 180 degrees around. As expected, the personnel in the tiny clinical center didn't have many sources to attend my case, so they applied a cast and did some xrays to see what type of fracture I had. My dad managed to get a helicopter to take me back to the city as fast as they could. As soon as I got there, they opened the cast. My leg was incredibly swollen. We went to a very good local hospital and I was attended by a physician who would ultimately become my orthopedist for the next 2 weeks. My leg was so swollen by the impact, they had to wait for it to drain completely before surgery. Two weeks passed by as I underwent 4 or 5 surgeries as well as draining processes.
My mom had been telling me about the plan of going to the US to verify if everything that had been done right. We researched everything about HSS; how it was ranked number 1 in orthopedics and had the best people to treat me. Dr. Austin Fragomen was the physician who took over my case. As soon as I went to the hospital, the kindness of everyone lessened the fright I felt as a teenager, away from everything I had before. I can definitely say you'll always be in the safest hands as soon as you come in contact with the hospital. I have to admit, when I went to my first appointment and was told "this has to be done again," I knew it was going to be a long ride. However, words of relief were told to me by the PA. "We always win," they said. And so we did.
After one month at the hospital, the previous external fixator was removed and they applied frames to hold my bones together. I got a bone graft, a skin graft (part of my skin was damaged as a consequence of the swelling), tibia and ankle surgery. I thank God every day for teaching me so much at such a young age, and for putting me in the hands of the best people in the world that could manage this tragic case.
It's a huge thing that now, mid-September, I am walking as I walked before the accident. Being an 18 year old starting a career you love, enjoying everyday as much as you can, and having all that taken away by a short moment isn't easy. I know I have a great future ahead of me, thanks to all of these great people at HSS.Peter Bayers, New Milford, CT - Tibia/Femur Reconstruction
The injury was so serious that one of Dr. Rozbruch's fellows told me later that he did not think my leg would heal. Well, using an Ilizarov fixator, Dr. Rozbruch worked a miracle and I healed beautifully. Not only that, but also out of curiosity, Dr. Rozbruch took an x-ray of an old serious injury to my left tibia, and right before I went in for my operation on my right leg, he told me I needed to fix my left leg too or I would be sorry when I was older. In June 2011, Dr. Rozbruch did reconstructive surgery on my left leg to straighten out my leg from an old injury. I had fixators on both legs for several months.
Dr. Rozbruch gave me my life back. I have returned to serious rock, ice, and Alpine climbing. I play soccer and am even running twenty miles a week – with no ill effects! Dr. Rozbruch is the Man!
Richard F. Levine, Poughkeepsie, NY – knee replacement surgery
Dear Dr. Nestor,
When we discussed my double partial knee replacement prior to my June surgery, I told you that my goal was to return to the active life style that I was accustomed to. Well, I am happy to report that eight months later I have met and exceeded my goals. Note that prior to the surgery, I wore a deloader brace on one knee and the other knee did not let me walk for more than 50 yards without needing to stop to ease the pain.
The bottom line is that I can do most everything I want and am not limited by the discomfort that sometimes follows my activities. Finally,
Richard Levine skiing Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
Richard Levine in Deer Valley, Carlsbad Cavern, and New Mexico
Josephine Moore, New Windsor, NY - spine surgery
About a year ago I was suddenly afflicted with severe back and leg pains that I immediately recognized as the same symptom of a spinal disorder I had ten years earlier for which I had very successful surgery., The physician I had at the time had since retired so I began a search for a spinal surgeon from whom I could get a diagnosis and recommendation with which I could feel comfortable. I spent an extended period of time visiting physicians in well-known medical institutions all of whom strongly opposed surgery and recommended various alternatives. Some I followed without success; others I rejected.
Having heard about excellent results with physicians at Hospital for Special Surgery, I decided to research it. After reviewing profiles of physicians in the HSS Orthopedic Department, the one I felt best suited for my needs was Dr. Bernard Rawlins. I called his office and was amazed at how pleasantly and promptly they scheduled an appointment for me. I knew from my first visit with Dr. Rawlins that I had found the physician for whom I was looking. Without noting all preliminary details, Dr. Rawlins performed spinal surgery on me and, in doing so, gave me new life. Within a few weeks, I was in excellent physical condition, free of pain and pills, and again engaged in my great passion for world travel.
Carol J. Weilacher, Mahwah, NJ – knee replacement surgery
On November 9, 2011, I had a total knee replacement. Dr. Steven Haas is not only an excellent surgeon, he is the Michelangelo of knee surgery. I cannot thank Dr. Haas and his entire staff enough, plus the staff at HSS. I was cared for with kindness and compassion. Now, months later, the results have been wonderful. Thank you!
Roree Oehlman, Honokaa, HI – knee surgery, spinal injections
I came to HSS after a complete series of missteps as to my diagnosis of rotator cuff injury, which was in reality, a rare, aggressive myxoma. I had traveled a great distance to HSS for help after I found out that they were rated number #1 and that they were near my daughters who live in NYC. Dr. Anil Ranawat jumped to action and referred me to Gregory R. Saboeiro, MD who did not concur with my original diagnosis of a cyst. He sent me to Dr. Ranawat for a referral for what appeared to be a cancerous mass. Dr. Athanasian was brought in, and he removed the mass. I have been clear of any recurrence thus far and, thank goodness, there was no cancer. I was able to go home where I completed a rough water swim, which I had not been able to do for years.
I returned to HSS last year after months of dealing with doctors who would not treat me or evaluate symptoms of pain in my back, knee, and numbness in my foot. I knew something was seriously wrong and I called Dr. Ranawat’s office. He ordered an MRI of my back and knee, and evaluated my foot which was not plantar fasciitis but rather radiculopathy from compressed nerves in my back. My back was a mess and my knee showed two torn meniscus. Dr. Ranawat and his team worked me in for a successful knee surgery and his staff helped coordinate other appointments for me with Dr. Castellano and Dr. Hughes.
After my consultations, I returned for Euflexxa treatments in my knee by Priya at Dr. Ranawat's office and Dr. Castellano performed spinal cortisone injections for my ruptured disc and other issues in my lumbar spine.
Are these people saints? Probably not, but in my book, they are close to it!
Renate Swayze, Dover, NJ – spine surgery, pelvic surgery, knee replacement surgery
I have been a patient at HSS five times. I have also had several procedures and a number of tests. From the x-ray technicians to the surgeons, I have always been treated with care and respect. I remember the x-ray technician who took great care in making sure the hospital bed I was in was pushed as closely to where I had to stand as possible. He understood the pain I was in. I remember the doctor who wanted me to begin a certain treatment before I was released and the assistant who managed to have it in my hands in only hours. After two spine surgeries, I am happy to say I am doing well and feel like a new person. I wish I could personally thank each and every person who had a part in my story at HSS. Thank you all.
Helena Blum, Glen Ridge, NJ – knee replacement surgery
When the pain in my left knee got so bad that it started to hinder my pursuit of international folk dancing, I knew it was time for me to take action. I knew about the work done at Hospital for Special Surgery and my friend recommended Dr. Rozbruch, who had replaced both of her knees. The attention and treatment I received at the hospital, and the dedication and personal attention with which my knee replacement surgery was handled last year, is allowing me to continue dancing without any restrictions or pain. I am forever grateful to Dr. Rozbruch.
Mary Tancredi, Rocky Point, NY – knee and shoulder replacement surgery
In 2001, I had my right knee replaced and in 2001, I had my left knee replaced. I was told it was either a wheel chair or replacement, so I chose the later. In 2011, I had my shoulder replaced due to a fall and severe arthritis. My surgeon, Dr. Gulotta, told me that in 6 months, I would be happy I had it done. Not so! I was happy in 6 weeks! I was so scared to have it done but it was the best thing I ever did. I had wonderful results from my knee surgery although it took about 6 months to appreciate what I went through. But my shoulder replacement was a piece of cake thanks to Dr. Gulotta - he's a great doctor.
Barbara Jean Smith, Laurel, NY – shoulder surgery
When I separated my right shoulder in 1995, the doctor said the only thing that would help was time (and painkillers temporarily). It got somewhat better with time… and then worse. By 2011, I wasn’t able to reach across my desk at work to answer the phone. I sought help. The doctors in eastern Long Island gave me cortisone shots, to no avail. I made an appt with HSS and got in right away. Amazing people! I had bursitis, arthritis, bone spurs, and the joint was collapsing in on itself. My surgery was a week and a half later. Once again, amazing people! Dr. Beth Shubin Stein performed the surgery and I was on my way home 5 hours later. Yes, there was pain at first, but
Kimberly Bennett, Nutley, NJ – finger tendon reconstruction surgery
Following an injury to the knuckle on my finger, I was treated by several local specialists. After months of no improvement, I decided to go to HSS and consult with Dr. Edward Athanasian. He advised that I have surgery to repair the tendon.
Alice Rosen, Centerport, New York – ankle surgery
Although my surgery may be considered minor by some, neither did Dr. Elliott or the HSS staff treat me with any less care or attention. The pride which everyone takes is palpable. Dr. Elliott came to see me prior to surgery and after. He wanted to make sure that I was ok and well enough to return home. The nurses were attentive to my needs and cared about me unconditionally. The security guard who welcomed us into the hospital at 6am wished me luck and smiled as I left in the afternoon.
Sue Goldberg, Cresskill, New Jersey – hip replacement surgery
Before my hip replacement surgery with Dr. Gonzalez Della Valle, I was walking around tilted, with a pronounced limp - not something one should do when teaching nursery school! I got many concerned comments and was in deep pain. I knew it was time to correct the situation and live "normally" again. I had my surgery done right after my retirement and, I have to say, I am so happy with both!
Post-surgery was not exactly a "breeze," but it was worth the work and effort to get back to walking upright and not having to sit down every few steps. I thank all involved at HSS for my new life!
Christopher Whippen, Vernon, CT – arthroscopy surgery
Always an on and off runner, in November 2009 I ran my first half marathon, and my running career took off. I was doing races and logging miles month after month, all over the northeast; running had become something very special to me - and something that I was getting good at. But over time, I noticed a gradually increasing pain in the front of my hip.
For almost 2 years I sought various physical therapists, orthopedic specialists, cortisone shots, sports consultants, etc. I tried everything possible to figure it out. I was even told that I was just "getting old" by one doctor, which almost brought me to tears (I was only 28).
By the summer of 2011, I could barely walk. This made me increasingly nervous considering my wife and I were expecting our first child, a girl, that September. I heard about Dr. Bryan Kelly at HSS through author/ironman Matt Long, a "running hero" of mine who I had met at the April 2011 Boston Marathon.
On my first visit to Dr. Kelly, diagnosed me with a labral tear and scheduled my surgery. His office is a well-oiled machine - by far the best medical experience I have ever had. The surgery went smoothly, and Dr. Kelly’s office staff supported me through every step of the recovery process.
Now, 8 months later, I have returned to running and can't thank God enough for the people at HSS.
Christopher Whippen with his daughter, Avery
Leona Morton, Brooklyn, NY – Knee Replacement surgery
My experience at the HSS was outstanding. I had a knee replacement 3 months ago. I am now walking with no assistance and am back to work. My message to those who are in need of surgery:
William Tucker, Alexandria, VA – Hip Replacement surgery
Of all hospitals I have been treated in over the past 80 years, Hospital for Special Surgery was the very "best." The orientation for my hip replacement for all levels of the process removed all concerns and resulted in my positive attitude going into the operation. Knowing I was in the best hands with Dr. Chitranjan Ranawat, it could not have been more of a success. My doctor and his staff, as well as those that supported him during my operation and recovery, should be very proud of their success in hip replacements relieving the pain and restoring my quality of life. I have and will continue to recommend HSS to my friends that need special surgery. I could not have been in better hands.
Joanne Donoghue, Northport, NY – Knee surgery, Hip surgery
I was 19 years old when I tore my right ACL as a college soccer player. It wasn't a very common injury at the time for female athletes, and I had one surgeon already mess up my first surgery. I was referred to Dr. David Altchek by a fellow player. He was doing an ACL repair arthroscopically, which was a very new surgery at the time. For 20 years I was able to play soccer, snowboard, bike, complete 4 marathons and become a competitive triathlete. I was born with hip dysplasia, and unfortunately after 20 years of wear and tear, I had major hip pain. Again I was referred to HSS for my hip. Who, at 36 years old, goes for a hip consult? Dr. Coleman knew my athletic history and did my arthroscopic hip surgery. We hoped it would allow me to avoid a hip replacement in my later years. I finished the Miami Marathon 8 months after that surgery.
In a freak accident I tore my right medial meniscus within the year. I went back to Dr. Altchek who had pretty much saved my athletic life 20 years earlier. He said it was a quick fix, "we go in and snip it." I said okay. I was training for an Ironman, the mecca of all Ironmans, and figured I would let him fix it and move on.
I came out of surgery with a full length leg brace and was told I couldn’t train for at least 4 months! I ended up having a complete medial meniscal repair. I had never heard of this, and I never knew it was even an option. I freaked out at first, but it was explained to me by Dr. Altchek's P.A. that any other surgeon would have removed my meniscus and left me with bone on bone, which would have instantly ended my running and triathlete career on the spot - a concept that scared me to death. Although I was upset, I was thankful that I could still do what I want. I am now 4 months out of that surgery and in full training for my Ironman. I owe this all to HSS and the doctors there. I know eventually I will be back, and they will have to put me back together again, but I would not trust anyone else and I could not be living out my dreams without them.
Rachel Becka, Virginia Beach, VA – Hip surgery
Thanks to Dr. Robert Buly, my theme this year is "I will because I can". I had my original hip replacement for my 40th birthday. I have RA which was activated when I gave a very difficult birth to my son. Because I was trying to get pregnant again, I was on prednizone for 3 years which caused damage to my hip. I had my first revision surgery in 2001 because of a defect in the plastic cup. I had another revision in September, 2008 which left me with nerve damage in my leg. It took 6 months of intensive physical therapy to get side-laying leg extension.
In June 2009, my hip dislocated 3 times in 8 days, not because of me exceeding 90 degrees, but because the ligaments never reattached. My doctor put in a locking hip in June 2009, at which time I apparently got an infection in the hip. The infection was not detected until July 30th, 2010 because of Enbrel. My doctor then operated and left a 15-inch open wound to the prosthetic because he felt the stem had been in my femur for so long he would have to break the femur to get it out and I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I lived with a woundvac "Fred" for 7 months and a pic line with IV antibiotics. In December 2010, the infection was back at which time my doctor told me there was nothing more he could do for me.
I was having dinner with a friend who is a doctor when he suggested HSS. He made a phone call to another ortho doctor in the area and recommended Dr. Buly. Dr. Buly felt certain he could get the stem out and he did. He put in an antibiotic spacer on March 1st and went back in on May 17th for a full replacement. Everyone at HSS was wonderful and better than any hospital I have ever been in. Thanks to Dr. Buly I have begun tennis again, just got back from 11 days in the Bahamas and plan to visit Italy in June. Why? Because I can.
Martin Solomon, Hicksville, NY – Knee Replacement Revision
After having one of the best rated surgeons on Long Island perform perform my knee surgery, I went two years with further pain, especially while walking up and down stairs. After complaining to my surgeon for two years and him telling me that there was nothing more that he could do. He suggested I see another doctor for consult. I visited Dr. King who ordered special MRI exams and, in turn, referred me to Dr. Geoffrey Westrich who immediately diagnosed my problem. He set me up for revision surgery of my knee, due to the fact that the original surgery omitted the resurfacing of the patella.
I have been a patient at HSS since 1977 when I first saw Dr. Bernard Jacobs for my knee. He didn't want to operate at that time because he, along with other doctors, were working on a new procedure called, "arthroscopic surgery." He said my recovery would be much quicker once it was perfected. My first surgery was actually my right elbow in 1984 performed by Dr. Jacobs. Dr. Richard McCormick, Dr. Scott Wolfe, and Dr. Answorth Allen performed my other surgeries. For 35 years I have trusted HSS not only with my care, but for numerous people I have referred over the years. HSS is the only hospital I would ever consider for orthopedic care for surgery for myself, my family and those I do refer. I have always been extremely satisfied with every doctor I have visited, and in my case they have been numerous over the years.
I do have a very special thank you for Dr. Answorth Allen who is a shoulder, elbow and knee specialist who many years ago committed to be my "quarterback" regarding my care. He is the first doctor I see regardless of the joint I have a problem with and he then guides me to the doctor specializing in the area of expertise that I need. I love all the doctors at HSS, but Dr. Allen is tops on my list and I consider him a friend. I honestly believe that without the professionals at HSS I would not be functioning as well as I am at age 58 and that is why I have told countless people over the years to never have any type of orthopedic procedure done until they have gone to HSS. I know there are future procedures I will need down the road, but I feel very comfortable knowing they will be done at HSS.
Brian Cantin, Rego Park, NY — Ankle surgery
The original problem I had with my ankle happened about four years ago when I injured it. I was told that I have tendonitis in the ankle and required physical therapy. After success, I was back on my way until one night while I was sleeping, my ankle woke me up with unbelievable pain. Having no idea why the pain started, I went back to my original foot doctor and he had no answer after a new MRI was done. Frustrated with this roadblock, I went to three other specialists in the foot and ankle field. None had a clear-cut answer, even after looking at my MRI and knowing my history. All that they could do was suggest aspirin, heat or ice, and that was it. One doctor even suggested I see a pain specialist. Finally, my regular doctor suggested I see Dr. Mark Drakos. I had nothing to lose so I made the appointment.
I was thrilled to hear that Dr. Drakos was affiliated with Hospital for Special Surgery as this was the hospital I wanted to go to but could not get an appointment with any other doctor for at least 6 months. Dr. Drakos took one look at my swollen foot, saw my MRI, and immediately suggested we drain the fluid he saw. I was excited to hear some progress about to be made (although I was not excited for the draining procedure). As soon as he got the fluid out, he knew something wasn't right. Four days later, he informed me that I had an infection and needed surgery right away to take care of the problem. I had the surgery at HSS (this was my first surgery of any kind in my life) and four days after, I was home.
I really enjoyed my stay at the hospital. Everyone has stories about hospitals and how it can be boring or bad, but I did not have a bad experience whatsoever during my stay. Now I am on the road to recovery and hope by the summertime, I can get back to doing the things I loved to do - bike rides, handball, football, anything to tell you the truth.
Nancy Mahoney, Fishkill, NY — Knee Replacement
I had fallen four years ago and complained of shooting pains down the calf of my leg. I went to four different ortho specialists over the next three years with all different outcomes. Finally, I could not stand the pain and low quality of life anymore (I teach Kindergarten), so I researched HSS and found Dr. Mayman. I had my right knee replaced in June of 2011, and my left knee replaced in January of 2012. I am now on my way to a full recovery and look forward to running around after my kids.
Sherwin Slater, Monroe Township, NJ — Shoulder replacement
I had fallen in my bedroom causing a massive tear in my left rotator cuff. It was so severe that it couldn't be repaired, necessitating a complete shoulder replacement masterfully done by Dr. Warren. Initially, I had little pain, but that changed after the anesthetic wore off, and I had some pain medication at home. Dr. Warren had me begin a six week course of outside physical therapy. On the days I did not have PT, I did similar exercises at home and gradually, the pain wore off. I now have about 80 percent function of my right shoulder.
Robert S. Kramer, Staten Island, NY — Rotator Cuff Surgery
I was exercising in accordance to my department's policy and while performing a bench press I heard a popping noise in my left shoulder followed by immense pain and swelling. I knew that something wasn't right. I went to see Dr. Answorth Allen, a specialist in shoulder repair who diagnosed my shoulder with a torn rotator cuff that required surgery.
I want to express how professional, courteous, and helpful his office staff was. Never in my past have I ever had the pleasure of feeling so comfortable with a staff like this. When I arrived for surgery, I was greeted by the administrative staff who checked me in. This was a flawless and smooth process. From the desk reception to the assisting nurse, I felt so welcome that my surgery almost slipped my mind. I was a little apprehensive and the staff recognized this. Needless to say, I am not one that likes to get an IV. But the staff had gathered around and put my mind at ease while doing so.
Dr. Allen is the best surgeon that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His demeanor is outstanding and his ability to express what he was going to do was done with detailed explanation. Granted, I proved to have a more difficult injury then originally diagnosed, but Dr. Allen, being the professional that he is, completed my rotator cuff repair. It has now been 5 months from my surgical date and I am back in the gym. My shoulder feels great, other then the expected issues that were clearly expressed to me by Dr. Allen.
Nancy Deutsch, Massapequa Park, NY — Hip revision surgery
After having had a right hip replacement go awry from a Long Island Hospital, and after having been on oxycodone for 14 months with no help from my surgeon, I finally went to see Dr. Della Valle at HSS. He diagnosed my condition in about 2 minutes and I had the surgery August 31, 2011. He changed my life, and when I do the left hip, which will be this year, I will go directly to him and to HSS, which is clearly the greatest hospital I was ever in. Please note that I've had at least 15 major surgeries during my life so far! I'm hoping the left hip will be my last and I wouldn't go anywhere but HSS.
Charles Kaplanek — Huntington, NY, Total Hip Replacement
I suffer from osteoarthritis which ran deeply in my family. I was diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritis of my left hip over two years ago. I wanted to delay my surgery as long as possible, but it came to a point that I could not walk to the car. So I decided it was time for surgery. My wife, a pilates instructor and author, publishing and specializing in Hip and Knee rehabilitation, helped me begin a 6-week "pre-habilitation" program in preparation for my surgery. I chose HSS and Dr. Paul Pellicci because it just does not come any better. So, with HSS, Paul Pellicci, and my "preop, prehabilitation," I walked the day of my surgery. I got my staples removed and was discharged in less than 48 hours! I continued with the specified "pilates" rehab from my wife's book for the next 12 weeks and I sailed through the healing time period with great speed and ease. I recommend this type of program for everyone.
Bernard Leventhal, Wappingers Falls, NY — Left and right hip replacement
The information and classes before the surgery, the care, and the help you receive after surgery, are what make HSS so special. I know that it sped up my recovery. It enabled me to return to playing tennis and hiking - the two things I like best.
Michael Nixon, Greenwich, CT — Hip replacement
I admire all of HSS. I could say many things others already have said, but I want to talk about me. I could say those at HSS are "professional, sanitary, careful, responsive, graceful, esprit de corp, smiling," but here is the important thing - my thirteen-minute mile. I will be back at HSS.
Davis Roya, Neponsit, NY — hip resurfacing
I am a 69 year-old fitness and health food fanatic, as well as an instructor of Taekwondo and yoga. I am also nature hiker and cross-country skier. Although remaining at peak fitness, my right hip was so bad, I couldn't make it around the block. I have always been against all medication and doctors in general, but I was not ready to be put out to pasture. I searched for the best hospital and the best surgeon, and I got both in Dr. Su and HSS. Five weeks ago I got a right hip resurfacing procedure done and I now feel blessed. I have my life back. I have zero pain, my strength and flexibility are back, and every day I feel better. I feel fantastic. I had no problems from the operation at all. The incision was painful and the medication made me sick, but I was off the pain medication in 2 days. However, even the aspirin made me sick (it never had before). My advice to anyone getting hip surgery is to get in peak condition before the operation and start rehab immediately after surgery.
Allison Cooper, Shelton, CT — Open knee surgery, posterior capsular release, taylor spatial frame
At the age of 29, I had a simple arthroscopic knee surgery in 2007, for a running injury, that left me with a left knee contracture. After multiple surgeries, open knee and additional arthroscopy, my knee was left severely damaged, with massive scar and a 25 degree contracture. I was walking on the ball of my foot as that was all that could reach the ground. After 2 years and over a dozen surgeries, I came to HSS. It was recommended I see Dr. Rozbruch. After looking at my X-rays and my knee, he said "I can help you." After so many doctors, he was the only one who was confident he could restore my knee.
In March, 2010, I underwent an open knee and posterior capsular release with application of a Taylor Spatial Frame. I had the frame for 6 months. After which, I had a straight leg! I now had to work on movement and flexion, the next hurdle. Because my body produces such severe scars, I had additional surgeries to help regain movement. Dr. Rozbruch has been so supportive, trusting, and patient. He has always spent time encouraging and working with me so that I can gain the greatest outcome possible.
Jane Pressman, Boynton Beach, FL — spine surgery
I am sending this picture with a great big thank you to Dr. Cammisa. 14 months ago I had surgery, and now I climbed Machu Picchu. We took a whirlwind 3 week trip, and my back never held me back from any activities.
Rose Barry, Naples, FL — hip replacement surgery
In 1985, I was 51 years old and had 2 bad hips. I was a tennis player, very active in most sports. I had worn out the cartilage in both hip sockets. Dr. Wilson advised me at the time, that replacing my hips at this young age was not a good idea. My quality of life was terrible, I decided to have them replaced. One in 1985 and the other 2 years later. It has been 27 years since my first replacement and still continue to be ok. Doing swim aerobics 3 times a week has helped keep them in good shape. Dr. Wilson has done a remarkable job and I am forever in his debt.
Joseph Tasman, Setauket, NY — hip resurfacing surgery
I had hip resurfacing performed by Dr. Su in November of 2010. I am able to play singles tennis, hike, cycle and have a range of motion that is incredible.
Nancy A. Brown, New Canaan, CT — spine surgery
I have lived with back problems since I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 18. Having had six back operations prior to coming to HSS, I was desperate to find someone to relieve the horrific pain that I have lived with for over twenty years. Into my life comes Dr. Matthew Cunningham, a brilliant doctor, who has not only relieved me of my debilitating pain but treated me with the most amazing care. Dr. Cunningham made me feel like I was his only patient, listening to me, helping me understand my body and what would relieve my pain. His kindness, empathy and fabulous sense of humor are amazing, especially so in this day and age. I have been to many “world-renowned" specialists and have never experienced the type of excellent care that I received from Dr. Cunningham. HSS should be commended for having Dr. Cunningham on their staff. And not surprisingly, Dr. Cunningham’s administrative assistant, Tina Miller, is one of the kindest, compassionate and highly efficient assistants I have ever met as is Dr. Cunningham’s nurse, Cynthia.
Bryan Stromer, New York, NY — tendon release surgery
My name is Bryan Stromer, I am 16 years old and I have cerebral palsy. I have had the privilege of receiving treatment at Hospital for Special Surgery since 2001. Every time I walk through the doors of 535 East 70th Street, I feel a strong sense of community because everyone who I meet at HSS is kind and welcoming. I first came to HSS to receive botox injections into my legs to loosen the muscles. Since it was a painful procedure, Dr. Root took the time to make sure that I was comfortable. My parents were so impressed by the level of care that they decided to also have me receive occupational and physical therapy at HSS. In 2004, I had a tendon release surgery done at HSS by Dr. Scher and during my time at HSS as an inpatient had a fantastic experience. I later went to a rehabilitation center in another hospital which paled in comparison. When I arrived at the other hospital, I took it upon myself to tape an HSS Magazine ad to the side of my wheelchair. Being able to experience HSS as both an inpatient and outpatient has allowed me to see that HSS is truly a great hospital across the board. Growing up with a disability often prevents you from doing things, but I am so grateful that it has allowed me the opportunity to meet the wonderful staff at HSS.
Lewis Feldman, Guttenberg, NJ — hip surgery
I suffered from extreme hip and leg pain, and discomfort for almost a year before finally making the decision to have hip surgery. I was referred to Dr. Maynard by another doctor at HSS who said, "If you need hip surgery, then Dr. Maynard is your man."
I already knew that HSS was the best orthopedic hospital in the country, and after my initial exam with Dr. Maynard, I felt so confident with him as my surgeon. His office staff was also exemplary in every way and always made me feel at ease and comfortable. They even took care of my post-op care and needs and I received many follow-up phone calls. I will always be grateful to them for their personal care. By the way, my hip is 100% pain free and I feel like a new man.
Robert Mlaka, Lynchburgh, VA — knee surgery
I have had 12 surgeries on my right leg since 2007. Between infections, complications and the surgeries not being done correctly, I suffered for 5 years and lost my job and my home.
In March of 2011, I went to HSS and met Dr. Mathias Bostrom who, in my opinion, created a miracle when he operated on my right knee. I now am able to walk and stand on my leg without pain like before. I will always be indebted to him and have him in my prayers. He fixed something that three other surgeons from various hospitals couldn't.
Michael Corr, Northport, NY — hip replacement
I am a 50 year old former rugby player, who had a hip replacement 6 years ago - performed by Dr Pellicci (who told me my lifestyle would not change). He was right. I am entered in the September, 2012 Iron Man Wales (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run).
Janet Schneider, Monroe Township, NJ — spinal surgery
In December of 2010, Dr. James Farmer performed spinal fusion surgery on L4/L5 of my lower spine. He was able to use my own bone that he had removed as the extra bone for the fusion. My surgery was successful and I am totally healed. I can never thank Dr. Farmer and the fine staff at HSS enough for giving me back my life! I couldn't have found a more compassionate, caring and excellent surgeon anywhere. I had received such raving reviews from two of my own doctors (endocrinologist & optician) which left me no doubt that I would be going to a #1 top-notch surgeon and hospital.
Debby Goldman,New York, NY — hip surgery
Dr. Vad has treated a number of my painful joints very successfully. First, he was the only doctor to find the torn labrum in my hip, after months of misdiagnosis and physical therapy. Dr. S. Coleman successfully "scoped" my hip and I was pain free again.
On my 50th birthday, I went horseback riding and herniated 2 discs. I was in unbelievable pain. One epidural followed by walking (only) as exercise and I am cured. I cannot say enough about Dr. Vad, Dr. Coleman and their staff!
Michael Villane, Rumson, NJ — leg surgery
I came to Dr. Rozbruch's office pretty banged up with bowed legs and cartilage worn to the bone after three medial meniscus surgeries. I was in constant pain in both knees. After one look, many doctors said I needed double knee replacements at age 46, and that I would never run again. Dr. Rozbruch gave me the option of undergoing a high tibia osteotomy of both legs to correct my bowed legs. Both surgeries were a complete success and I not only have been able to live pain free but I can run again. Just 5 months after my last external fixator was removed, I competed in several races including a Half Ironman Triathlon, which consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. I had a great race, placing 5th in my age group and 50th overall out of 1000 competitors.
Kenneth Domney, Wanaque, NJ — hip replacement and ACL surgery
I have a family history of arthritis. So when it became obvious that I needed surgery, I got it set up right away for July, 2004. However, once I had set it up, it seemed like every time I mentioned it to someone, they immediately told me about someone they knew who had been to HSS and that it was the only place to go. After 5 or 6 of these instances, I figured I was being directed for a reason. I cancelled my appointment and chose Dr. Pellicci at HSS for my hip replacement. The result was just about perfect! I am a professional Martial Arts instructor and after completing rehab, I was able to demonstrate moves I had not been able to show for years. Since then, I have been back to HSS for my right ACL with Dr. Coleman. And now I am writing this from my bed on the 7th floor 2 days after getting my other hip replaced, again by Dr. Pellicci. Judging by my therapy so far, my recovery will be equal to last time.
Edie Leff, Buffalo, NY — osteotomy
I had polio as a child. After many surgeries over a thirty year period, my walking was getting increasingly more difficult. I was walking hunched over and holding on to my right leg not to have it collapse underneath me. I started visiting doctors in western New York and Canada only to be told that either nothing could be done or something might be possible but they could not help me. Finally, a doctor suggested HSS. Calling the hospital, I was directed to Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch. We met and he told me that he could help by performing an open wedge osteotomy with a correction of the varus. Surgery was a life changing experience. Instead of being relegated to a life of walking with assistance or worse, I now walk with ease completing tasks which once seemed daunting.
Lynn Stephens, Ridgefield Park, NJ — spine surgery
December 7, 2010 was the beginning of a new life, thanks to Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei. I have been in his care since 2002, being seen every few years for chronic low back pain due to scoliosis. My original surgery was in 1981 and I did very well until 2000. He suggested revision surgery a few years ago, but I wasn’t ready to commit so I tried conservative procedures, which helped temporarily. At my appointment last year, I scheduled surgery and never looked back. The pain was getting worse. I couldn’t sleep or sit and nothing was controlling it. That was no way to live. I had degenerative disease, facet arthrosis, and spondylolistheses.
Dr. Boachie removed part of the Harrington rod, replaced it with two rods, cages, and screws to stabilize my spine with interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1. The recovery was challenging, but I did my homework, knew what I was up against, and I was ready. I had an uneventful recovery, and exactly three months later, I returned to work commuting to New York City. Lindy Maier, the nurse in the office, was so helpful pre and post-op. She would answer my emails whenever I had a question and reassured me that what I was experiencing was the normal course of recovery. Words cannot express how grateful I am to Dr. Boachie and everyone at HSS.
Sylvia L. Sherman, Briarwood, NY — total knee replacement
On January 17, 2011, I had a total knee replacement. This was after suffering with painful arthritis for years and being bow legged on one side for two years. I had a great surgeon, Dr. Russell E. Windsor and terrific nursing care as well as good pain relief and lots of tender loving care. After a week, I went to the Hospital for Joint Disease on 17th street for inpatient rehab. It was tough, but worked wonderfully. When I left after another week, I could walk without even a cane. I continued therapy first at home and then in the rehab center for two months and have had such great results, freedom to walk where I wish, and freedom from pain. This procedure was a blessing and I thank everyone involved especially my doctor and the staff at HSS.
Sherry Nehmer, New York, NY — spine procedures and physical therapy
I brought my aging, painful back to HSS and placed it in the hands of physiatrist Dr. Jennifer Solomon, of the Women's Sports Medicine Department. She and her staff were relentless in searching for a means of relief for me, through various up-to-date medical procedures and physical therapy. But that's just the start of the story. One of the most important parts of HSS is the nursing staff. Never in my life have I encountered such depth of skill, intelligence and sincere caring as I have with each and every one of the nurses. I'm not exaggerating; from pre-procedure check-ins to recovery room, every nurse I encountered was at the top of her or his game. I knew I was in good hands. The combination of skillful direction from Dr. Solomon and her associates, the hands-on talents of Betty Chow at the Integrative Care Center where I received physical therapy, and especially the care given by terrific nurses have not only improved my physical condition, but have made me an advocate for HSS. Great work, everyone.
Paul Deres, Canaan, NY — bilateral hip replacement
I needed both of my hips replaced. The doctors I saw locally would not do both at the same time, but Dr. Robert Buly at HSS said that he does this all the time. I had both of them done on February 1st. By the end of the first week, I was walking up and down stairs and by the end of February, I was driving my car. I started to play golf again on May 1st.
Michelle Paone, Fair Haven, NJ — bilateral carpel tunnel surgery
I had bilateral carpel tunnel surgery Feb 15, 2011 with Dr. Aaron Daluiski. Two weeks later, I was back to work, using my newly pain free hands! My family, friends and clients could not believe it and were impressed with my recovery time.
Georgia Philios, Teaneck, NJ — total hip replacement
I had a total hip replacement on Dec 8, 2010 by Dr. Michael Alexiades. Dr. McKinsey was my internist at HSS.
Lynn Romano, Red Hook, NY — bilateral knee replacements
I could not have been in a better facility. From start to finish, Dr. Friedrich Boettner and his staff could not have been more compassionate, professional and caring. As a registered nurse, I knew where I wanted to be treated for my bilateral knee replacements and traveling 100 miles from my home in Red Hook was worth it. I recommend HSS to my colleagues and as a case manager for a large insurance company, I do it with my patients.
Theresa LaRocca-Napolitano, New York, NY — shoulder rotator cuff repair, foot surgery
During the past six months, I have had two operative procedures at HSS. As a retired perioperative nurse, I do admit to being somewhat critical at times. However, my experiences at HSS were flawless. This includes not only my experiences on the days of surgery but also my pre and post operative visits to Dr. Scott Rodeo and Dr. Matthew Roberts.
Bob Rosenberg, Lawrence, NY — shoulder repair
I was scheduled for a shoulder repair.
Deborah Camiscoli-Spedick, Toms River, NJ — hip arthroscopy
I had a hip arthroscopy with Dr. Struan Coleman for torn labrum. I had the surgery on a Tuesday evening and I was home in New Jersey by 1 AM. I was back to working as a physician on crutches on Monday.
Jean Stellato, New Windsor, NY — total knee replacement
From entering HSS on January 31, 2011 for total knee replacement surgery, I felt I was in very good hands. Every single hospital person I came in contact with was pleasant and helpful. The admitting personnel were very efficient and answered every question I had. I did not wait very long before I was whisked away to my little cubicle where I was to be prepared for surgery. And once again, the nurses and other personnel were so calming, efficient, and happy that they eased any fears I may have had. Every question I had was answered with honesty and everyone I came in contact with was very knowledgeable and ready to assist me (and my family) in any way they could.
Thanks to Dr. Mark Figgie and staff, my surgery was successful. When I awoke in my room, the perfect working staff of HSS was at its best. I was cared for with kindness, compassion, and humor. The nurses were always available, explaining everything they were doing and again answering all my questions and giving me encouragement. I felt so well cared for. I am sure I am not the only one who felt this way. Everyone one did their job - the people who cleaned my room, the people who brought the food, the nurses, physical therapy people, and MD's. Everyone had a smile on their faces and wished me well.
Paul Dlug, Miller Place, NY — hip surgery
At a dance, I tripped on a chair, fell on my left side, and my left femur separated from my hip. Being in much pain, the local fire department took me to a nearby hospital in Long Island where I was operated on the next day for a partial hip replacement. I exited the hospital in good shape in five days and started physical therapy. Everything was going great but, after five weeks, I developed a staph infection that put me back in the hospital for 25 days. The prosthesis was removed, I was on intravenous antibiotics for eight weeks, and spent the next eight months in a wheel chair.
My eldest son of four children did some research and found on the internet that Dr. Geoffrey Westrich of the Hospital for Special Surgery who did "reconstructive" hip surgery and advised me to go into the city to have it performed. I saw Dr. Westrich and after looking at my x-rays and with a consultation with him, he decided to take my case. I first had to be cleared by Dr. Barry Brause, the Director of Infectious Disease, who gave me many "hurdles" to clear before I could have constructive surgery. After clearing all these hurdles, I had the operation on December 29, 2010. The nurses, physical therapists, and doctors at HSS are knowledgeable and caring. I've been in physical therapy now going on six months but everyday am feeling stronger and better.
Homero Villarreal, New Canaan, CT — total knee replacement
On April 6th, 2011, I had total knee replacement with Dr. Steven Haas. I had been battling with this for over 60 years due to a misalignment of the knee at birth, so this seemed to be the only option. Dr. Haas operated on me in 1996 when he was still relatively young and when it came time for total knee replacement, I thought of no one else. Before surgery I watched Dr. Haas’ webcast of total knee replacement from 2009 and was very impressed. What I learned is that he is not only an excellent surgeon, he is an artist in the operating room, molding and finding the best parts for the patient. His flexibility to make decisions and quickly adapt as he moves along with the process really impressed me. I was sold because this surgery should not be “cookie cutter” so speak, but tailor made to suit the individual. What I loved about the experience was the music in the operating room as you are rolled in and the humor. In 1996 it was rock and in 2011 it’s county and western. I smiled as I went into surgery thinking how time had changed Dr. Haas’ taste in music. So far I have been very happy with the results and hope he has given me parts that will last my lifetime.
Beverly Kelly, Manasquan, NJ — bilateral total hip replacement
For many years, I suffered with pain and stiffness in both of my hips. I got several opinions and they all suggested total hip replacement. At HSS, Dr. Bryan Nestor suggested bilateral total hip replacement. It was the best thing I ever did. I got it over with in one surgery. Recovery wasn't as bad as I had imagined.
Emma D. Dryden, New York, NY — back and neck surgery
My experience with the surgeon, Dr. Charles Goodwin, and staff of HSS was exceptional. In November 2010, I underwent a lower back disk fusion followed six weeks later, in December 2010, by a neck disk fusion. After nearly a year of hard-to-manage pain caused particularly by the lower back disk problem, the surgery relieved the pain and within four months of the surgeries, I was back to jogging in Central Park.
Lynne Cullinane, Titusville, NJ — hip, spine and neck surgery
In 1987 Dr. Eduardo Salvati replaced my right hip; in January, 2011, Dr. James Farmer operated on my lumbar spine; and in August, Dr. Farmer will repair my cervical stenosis. I'm beginning to feel like a regular! In every case my care has been exemplary and the results have been wonderful. The hip and lumbar surgeries freed me from pain and restored mobility.
Ronald Lukoff, Oyster Bay, NY — ankle distraction
I had been suffering from bone-on-bone pain in my left ankle for ten years. It stemmed from a broken ankle I suffered 58 years ago, I am now 66. The pain became so unbearable that I considered having the ankle fused. I was not a candidate for an ankle replacement because my ankle had become too deformed to line up straight. I was opposed to fusing the ankle, but felt as though I had no other choice. I must have seen 25 of the top doctors in New York at all the major hospitals. I got very lucky when I got the name of Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch, who did an ankle distraction. I was in a fixator for 3 months, which was not pleasant, but was certainly manageable. When it was removed, the bone-on-bone pain was gone and the cartilage had regenerated. My pain was gone, and I was able to do normal activities again. Now, one year later, I am playing golf and some tennis, and pain is a distant memory. Thank you Dr. Rozbruch.
Carol Venuto, Bloomsburg, PA — knee surgery
By the time I saw Dr. Figgie, my knees were in bad shape. I was no longer able to enjoy the trips I loved so much. During a family reunion last summer, we stayed at a historic Victorian hotel alongside beautiful falls, but I suffered constantly going up and down the stairs (there were no elevators). I could not do much hiking at all there, nor at our favorite ocean/redwoods spot in Northern, CA.
Betsy Ellsworth, Ann Arbor, MI — total knee replacement
Before the age of 50, I had two total knee replacements at HSS. Dr. Mayman absolutely changed my world. My first knee replacement at HSS was on my left knee in July of 2009. During that surgery, Dr. Mayman noticed some problems with my right knee, which had been replaced six years earlier in Oregon. He brought in a plastic surgeon to deal with those issues, and in December 2009 I had muscle flap surgery on my right knee at Columbia Presbyterian. During that recovery process I learned that I was allergic to some metal components in my right knee. This led to a revision of that total knee at HSS in July 2010.
Three major surgeries in 12 months; and I am now pain free for the first time in 35 years. There is no way I can ever thank Dr. Mayman and his team enough.
Libbey Eicher, Archbold, OH — spinal fusion surgery
In April of 2005, I was first diagnosed with a mild form of idiopathic scoliosis. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon in Toledo, Ohio and in five months, my scoliosis progressed rapidly to the point where spinal fusion surgery was necessary. I had the surgery in May of 2006 when I was 16 years old. After that surgery, I had three more corrective spine surgeries in two years. I was getting very discouraged because I felt like with each surgery, my spine was getting worse. I was in a back brace all the time and was embarrassed to have it off in front of my family because of how much I leaned to my right.
Nearly three years ago, I began to think that I would be in pain and crooked for the rest of my life but after a twist of events, we found Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei at HSS. Not only is Dr. Boachie a world-renowned spinal surgeon, but he also devotes his time to performing spinal surgeries to the people in Ghana, where he is originally from. This is one of the reasons I felt he was the right surgeon for me - because I also have a heart for Africa and mission work.
In June of 2009, Dr. Boachie performed two spinal surgeries on me one week apart. In December 2010, I had another spine surgery to trim down my instrumentation.
Alan Benezra, Boulder, CO — wrist surgery
Basically, Dr. Steve K. Lee saved my life as I now live it. I'm an avid cyclist, skier, and hiker. At age 61, I broke my wrist mountain biking in Boulder, Colorado. It was an awful break with an equally horrible second opinion telling me I didn't require surgery. By 12 weeks I knew something was terribly wrong. Luckily, I got an appointment with Dr. Lee in New York City for a consult. I travel to New York City three or four times a year for work and this was one of those times.
Dr. Lee immediately diagnosed my wrist as improper bone healing, ligament damage, deformation and suggested surgery either back in Colorado or with him. I realized rather quickly that there was only one doctor I could trust to fix me and that was Dr. Lee. I flew back to New York two weeks later for surgery. I am now two weeks post-op and my wrist is anatomically correct with minimal swelling. The pins will come out in three months and I'll have full mobility for next year's biking season. Dr. Lee did a scapholunate ligament repair, carpal tunnel release, bone graft to correct the distal radius and added plates to stabilize the reconstruction.
When I saw my wrist one week post-op, I cried. Dr. Lee put his arm around me and said he'd rather see tears of joy than tears of pain. I thank him from the bottom of my heart. No one could have done what he did for me. He explained everything to me in detail, even while in the hospital waiting for anesthesia. I don't think the word, "rush," is in his vocabulary. The office staff was incredible. If you need hand surgery, there is no other.
Alan Benezra hiking Mt. Sanitas at 3 weeks post op
Alan Benezra hiking Lake Jasper at 4 weeks post op
Emmanuel Tabi, Brooklyn, NY — humerus lengthening
My story cuts across from the continent of Africa to the great city of New York, USA. Growing up in Ghana, I came to realize how my congenital disorder of one arm longer than the other affected my self-esteem and interaction with other children of my age. However, in coming to the USA and particularly New York, I was determined to find a solution to this disorder. If anything can happen, it must be here in New York. Luckily enough, after about twenty years in the city, my friend mentioned that his wife has had a procedure done by Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch. I didn't hesitate to make an appointment to see him.
My first meeting with him was very encouraging. In July 2008, I had this abnormality corrected, and since then, I've felt very happy about the whole procedure.
Emmanuel Tabi pre-operation
Emmanuel Tabi post-op
Erin McCabe, Foxboro, MA — leg surgery
I broke my leg at a Patriots game on black ice in 2004. When I went in for the initial surgery, they thought the best option for me was to rod my tibia. After 9 months of continued pain, I went for a second opinion. I was told that I had a non-union tibia fracture that could be easily fixed by removing the initial rod and replacing it with a new rod, to stimulate the healing process.
But 2 years out, I continued to have constant pain and found myself on and off crutches. During this time, I had two small babies and life became very difficult. I went to seek a third opinion from one of the top doctors in Boston. He said there was some healing at the fracture site and that I should not rush to have another major surgery. less
After a third year with a broken leg I started to really push for my next surgery so that I could plan ahead for work and help with the children. I soon realized I was pregnant again and would have to wait another year. At year four, I finally decided to go in for what I hoped would be my last surgery. I went to my local hospital to have the second rod removed and we decided my next best option was to have screws, plates and a bone graft put in to heal my nonunion tibia fracture. While they were in surgery, they realized my issue was much more serious than they had expected. They found that 2.5 inches of my tibia bone had died. I was sent home that day with a full leg cast. I needed to research what my options were and realized they were very limited. That was the scariest day of my life.
Because I work in orthopedics, I was able to find the best doctor to deal with my particular issue. I was so lucky and thankful to find Dr. Rozbruch in Manhattan. I contacted him immediately and was in New York before I knew it.
Erin McCabe during treatment
Pat Krieger, Hillsdale, NJ — foot surgery
We take for granted how important our feet are to our every day existence. Five years ago, I made the decision to have bunionectomies on both feet to ease the constant pain I experienced while walking. One foot healed well, the other never seemed quite right. The bones in my right foot continued to shift out of alignment to the point where the pain while walking was almost unbearable. After investigating who the BEST orthopedic surgeon was for foot problems, several recommendations led me to a consult with Dr. Jonathan Deland, Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at HSS. I underwent pretty extensive foot surgery to correct my bone alignment in early October, 2010. The surgery was exactly as Dr. Deland outlined for me, and the care from all members of the staff was superb.
The recovery period was challenging not being mobile, but Dr. Deland and his staff provided excellent post-op support for the next several months. Six months later, I am walking better than I have in years and my foot looks like a new foot! People are shocked when I show them the before and after x-ray pictures. I can't thank Dr. Deland enough. The care I received during my surgical stay at HSS was excellent, your staff is tremendous!
Roger Jacobsen, Nutley, NJ — foot and ankle surgery
I've been to HSS twice now and each experience was exceptional. Your nursing staff is the best. I've been in too many hospitals, but HSS is one I would look forward to returning to.
Janet Stubbs, Helmetta, NJ — knee replacement
After having a below-knee amputation on my left leg due to an MRSA infection, it was recommended I use HSS for my right knee replacement because of the extremely low infection rate. All of the physicians I saw there were caring and accommodating to my circumstances. Dr. Figgie is an outstanding surgeon with a wonderful bedside manner. He and his staff helped to keep me in the loop on everything. I have several friends who have had recent knee replacements elsewhere, and not one of them has had the post-op success that I have had with mine. Within three weeks my leg was bearing my entire weight so I could again transfer when I am without my prosthesis.
Ned Kitchel, Falmouth, ME — ankle replacement surgery
I live in Maine and came to the HSS because the surgery I needed was not available in New England. Since I was traveling to NYC for the surgery, my guard was up. I didn't know what to expect. Because I did my homework and chose to have my surgery at HSS, I expected a great surgery. But I did not expect to be treated as well as I was by every person I came in contact with. At every level, from check-in to discharge, I was treated with care and kindness. I can never say enough about how good my experience was. I left the hospital feeling like I had made friends with a legion of extraordinary caregivers. I was deeply touched by the depth of the compassion and thoughtfulness. I have told all who will listen about Hospital for Special Surgery.
James Secreto, New Windsor, NY — hip resurfacing surgery
Dr. Edwin Su, put simply - HE IS THE BEST!
Deidre Weiss, Jackson Heights, NY — total knee replacement
The deterioration of my right knee and need for surgery was rapid. At just 49, my knee was collapsing from arthritis and it was evident that I would soon lose the ability to walk. Walking just one block was excruciatingly painful and brought me to tears. ME! Miss independent! My cousin, a spinal surgeon, highly recommended Dr. Michael Alexiades at HSS. I could not be more pleased with the outcome. I worked hard in the months before surgery. I knew that going in strong could only help me come out strong. This was true. Also true was that I had an excellent surgeon who operates in an exquisite hospital. The level of caring and commitment to patient care and follow up is stellar. Truly, it is a struggle for me to express what a positive experience having a total knee replacement at HSS was for me.
William Hickey, Elmhurst, NY — spine surgery
I had spine surgery on Feb. 3 of this year. My doctor was Patrick O'Leary.
Claire Papp, Freehold, NJ — spine surgery
I researched the hospital and physician for 9 months prior to my spinal surgery. I spoke with others who had been patients there. As a nurse, I knew too much, and you know how that can be a stress builder. Through prayer and discernment and an uncanny trust in Dr. O' Leary who I hardly knew, I went through with it. I describe the whole experience, including pre admission testing, as a well-oiled system.
Laurel Chehayl, Middletown, NJ — spine surgery
When I came to HSS, Dr. Andrew Sama was the third surgeon I had consulted in this geographic area. I am relatively young - just turning 40 next week - but have already had two spinal surgeries. My previous procedures were completed at very competitive Cleveland, Ohio, area hospitals. I always believed that to have an excellent surgeon, one must accept cursory or second-rate hospital care. HSS has absolutely taught me that this is not the case. From the moment I became Dr. Sama's patient, my life took a turn for the better. I became a patient of an entire body of caregivers, educators, and professionals. I felt heard, supported, and informed before, during, and after my spinal fusion surgery in April 2010. The people working in pain management, physical therapy, and nursing gave me the highest quality of care I could have imagined. Even the nutritionist took the time to listen to my (many!) questions and helped me best move forward after the surgery. I am forever grateful to Dr. Sama and everyone who continues to work with me at HSS.
Jean McCarron, Tappan, NY — spine procedures, hip surgery, total hip replacement
Having osteoarthritis, I cannot put into words the emotional component tied into the successful result of having total hip replacement on May 4, 2010. I have been treated at HSS since 2001 when Dr. Frank Cammisa performed an IDETA procedure on my spine with very good results in managing my pain. Shortly after that, Dr. Vijay Vad successfully treated my spinal pain with radiofrequency denervation. Because of increased hip pain around 2004, Dr. Vad referred me to Dr. Coleman who performed hip labrum removal–successfully. Dr. Coleman in 2007 found that I required elbow tendon surgery–also successful. My hip pain was treated again by Dr. Vijay Vad who injected my right hip periodically to control severe pain. Then, in May 2010, my right hip was replaced by Dr. Paul Pellicci. After THR, I was able to return to my job on June 9. I cannot believe the relief I feel after having so much pain in my right hip. In fact, my spine is not in as much pain as I am usually accustomed to.
Joseph Gellar, Stamford, CT — various surgeries
I had numerous surgeries/procedures beginning March 2009 and ending October 2010. I am deeply grateful for the care, concern and excellent surgery by Dr. Russell E. Windsor and his team. He was so kind and helpful in getting me whole again. Barry Brause and his staff were kind, caring, thoughtful and attended so carefully to me. Alicia Fisher and her amazing team were the kindest most caring staff I could have hoped for. Each hospital stay, I requested and received the 7th floor because the staff was awesome. I have recommended HSS and my physicians to friends.
Helaine Randerson, Princeton, NJ — total knee replacement
I am 71 years old and was a passionate traveler and art lover, until I became so knock-kneed with arthritis that I was virtually housebound. My first total knee replacement was October 2010; the second was December. My first museum visit in years (Secrets of the Silk Road) happened in mid-March 2011. (A cane proved unnecessary, but I still take one along when in unknown turf). Milling around around in crowds peering at ancient artifacts doesn't make for a stunning image to illustrate my first steps back to the life I love, but keep in mind that 2-1/2 hours standing on hard museum floors is a good test of knee recovery. I'm probably not going to travel the Silk Road but am progressing enough to start planning a trip to Italy.
Deborah Graziosi, Plainview, NY — foot surgery
I was very nervous the morning of my foot surgery. I walked into HSS and the waiting area was very nice and comfortable. The gentleman that greeted me was very pleasant. Once inside to triage area I was greeted with such nice and cheerful nurses. The hospital is so clean and everyone is so pleasant. My doctor, Dr. Andrew Elliott was great and my foot has healed wonderfully. I am so pleased with the whole experience. Thank you.
Jeff Dereki, New York, NY — spine surgery
I went to HSS for the second time in seven years to treat a lumbar disc condition.
Robert Malafronte, Sag Harbor, NY — hip and knee replacement
HSS is the best; I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. My surgeon, Dr. Chitranjan Ranawat, has had a life transforming effect on me and my family. I thank God everyday for having him as my doctor. He has replaced both of my hips and recently both my knees. I am truly blessed to have him as my doctor and surgeon!
Aristotel Papatrefon, Rockville Centre, NY — total knee replacement
I required total knee replacement of my left knee. On Nov 2, 2010, I had my replacement. The operation took approximately one hour and I was home three days after the surgery. My treatment and care at HSS was exemplary.
Marielaina Gless, Massapequa, NY — spinal fusion
On 9/16/10 I arrived to have a discectomy and 2 level fusion in my cervical spine with Dr. Charles B. Goodwin. The entire process from the time I arrived was quite impressive. HSS is run like a well-oiled machine and you almost feel like you are checking into a hotel. The atmosphere that is also offered to your family members is quite comfortable and accommodating. The pre-op was incredible. One person specifically dedicated to the IV, another person for dressing, and so forth. The anesthesiologist came in and was quite thorough and addressed the pre- and post-op pain meds quite well. Then Dr. Goodwin came in and we went down to the OR. After the surgery, I stayed in the PACU till 3pm the next day. Anytime I rang the bell, 3 nurses came running.
Nancy Silberman, Farmingdale, NJ — spinal fusion
I had a two level spinal fusion on L4L5 and L5S1 in September of 2010. While I am still on the mend, I am glad I selected Dr. Frank P. Cammisa out of the five doctors I saw elsewhere.
Sandra Farber, New York, NY — knee replacements
I had two knee replacements, one each stay, at HSS. I was pain-free thanks to intravenous pain medication. This greatly helped my frame of mind stay positive. The food was not like hospital food. It was actually very good. As a result I have become a fan of Activia yogurt, which I had never tasted before coming to HSS. The hospital itself is beautiful and patient rooms very pleasant. I found the staff to be helpful, respectful and good at their jobs.
James Perkowski, Bethpage, NY — hip and knee replacement
I had my right hip replaced in October of 2005 by Dr. Douglas Padgett.
Anita M. Kneeley, Brielle, NJ — total knee surgery
I had a total knee replacement in September, 2010. Prior to the surgery, I was in continual pain and was unable to lead an active life. I couldn't climb stairs bilaterally, couldn't walk a full city block without resting, and couldn't get a good night's sleep. The surgery was successful beyond my wildest dreams. I came home on the 4th day using a walker. By the third day I was home, I had discarded the walker for a cane.
Howard Viuker, Guttenberg, NJ — spine surgery
After several consultations with specialty surgeons it was determined that the only solution to relieve my excruciating lower back pain was surgery. I spoke with fellow Ceramic Artists who had suffered from similar back problems and the unanimous, overwhelming recommendation was Hospital for Special Surgery. I researched their facilities and Dr. Matthew Cunningham's qualifications, which I was impressed with, and it seemed to be right for me. I spoke with Tina Miller, the assistant to Dr. Cunningham, to introduce myself and the reason for my call. Tina was GREAT! She was very knowledgeable, professional and sympathetic to my problem. Tina handled everything efficiently and gave me a wonderful sense of security. I met with Dr. Cunningham, 24 hours later. He reviewed the MRI's with me and discussed my options in a way that I was able to understand. I was confident to make an informed decision. It became clear to me that I made the right choices in both hospital and doctor. In short, my experience at HSS was exceptional. The staff was great and very attentive to my needs. Thanks to Tina Miller, who made it easy to navigate the system, the professional skills of Dr. Cunningham and everyone I came in contact with at the hospital, they made my experience during a very traumatic time very memorable in the most positive way. My recovery went better than I expected and I am back to throwing pots. No pain!
Nancy Napurski, Rochester, NY — ankle distraction surgery
I started gymnastics when I was six years old, competed from nine to sixteen years, ran track, was a cheerleader in high school, played USVBA volleyball as a young adult, and became a rock climber at twenty-four. I had the sprains, strains, pulled muscles, bumps and bruises of a typical athlete, but nothing could prepare me for the dramatic accident I had on the cliff.
At 26, I was rock climbing in the Trapp Rocks in Connecticut when I slipped and fell…not to the ground, but back into the cliff. I was caught by the protection I had placed into the rock face, and as I fell I became a pendulum - the impact of my fall was taken by my left heel, breaking the talus and dislocating my ankle.
It took four hours to get to a local hospital; more than 24 hours to finally arrive at the hospital near my home and have emergency surgery.
The next morning, my surgeon stood at the foot of my bed and told me I had a 50% chance of walking normally again. No more running, no jumping, no volleyball, no skiing, no walking? I was devastated.
Over the next few years I adapted to a less-than-perfect ankle. I found I could use it, although it would swell and hurt if I used it too much. Thankfully I could hike and play tennis, and I discovered competitive west coast swing dancing.
During this time I was living in Southern California and had more and more trouble with my ankle. I saw an orthopedist who diagnosed arthritis and bone spurs, which was limiting my range of motion. I had surgery to clean up the bone spurs and detritus in the joint fluid and was told, “You have only so many hours to the joint; you’ll eventually have to fuse it.” He described fusion as a completely immobile ankle joint: I cried when I heard that news.
Fast-forward another five years and the bone spurs came back with an even greater limit to mobility. I developed an “equinus deformity” which meant that I could only walk on my toes. I had huge orthotics which made it difficult to buy shoes and sneakers and wore heeled shoes only. My ankle joint also became very painful and swollen, even with typical use like shopping at the mall. I was afraid of my future, worried that I would limp and be in pain for the rest of my life.
By that time I moved to Rochester, NY and saw a local ankle specialist. Her advice, too, was to fuse my ankle, OR, as she had just recently met Dr. S. Robert Rozbruch at an orthopedics conference, see if he could help me.
I went on the Institute for Limb Lengthening’s website and saw the miracles that Dr. Rozbruch and his staff perform for people like me and not like me. I saw myself in their stories and hoped that I would find an answer to my ankle problems and reclaim the athletic life that I want to lead.
I had grown up outside of New York City and my mother still lived there, so it was easy for me to make an appointment to see him. The office staff was professional, helpful, informative and easy to work with.
And when I met Dr. Rozbruch, I was struck by how incredibly compassionate and down to earth he is; he read my X rays, listened to my story and told me how he could help me.
I was so relieved; here was a surgeon who had an alternative to immobile fusion – Dr. Rozbruch had experience with deformities like mine and was cautiously confident that he could help save my ankle. I liked his realism and caution; he told me what was involved in the process: the surgery (ankle distraction, nerve release and Achilles tendon release), the time frame, the external fixator and the incredible results he’s had with patients like me. He even told me that he would “seed” my joint with stem cells from my hip to create new cartilage in the joint. Amazing! I couldn’t wait to get started.
I scheduled surgery in the summer of 2009 and I remember waking up to see the external frame for the first time. It was such a strange contraption! I called it my Frankenfoot – and to me, it was the device of miracles.
While wearing the frame, I had some interesting experiences. Some people behaved so strangely around me, looking at it (and me) with fear or dread in their eyes. It was quite disconcerting at times.
My husband, though, is an artist, and he had the brilliant idea of decorating the fixator. He bought pipe cleaners and ribbon; we had a grand time weaving color all over it. The perfect topper was a Jack in the Box™ clown head that I stuck onto the front of it, complete with orange hair sticking out.
Having a decorated fixator completely changed my experience. No more frowns and fear; now people smiled, commented on my fabulous “mobile sculpture” and were curious. Now I had a chance to talk about Dr. Rozbruch, my miracle surgery, the process I was going through and the results I expected.
Twelve weeks later my frame was removed; my husband plans on turning it into a clock sculpture to represent the time I spent healing.
In the meantime, I’ve been working with a sports medicine physical therapist. My range of motion has dramatically improved; my ankle is in positions it hasn’t been in for 23 years. I stretch and strengthen daily and my results are fantastic. Dr. Rozbruch says that I should continue to improve in overall joint health and range of motion with time; what more could I ask for? Dr. Rozbruch and his staff are always helpful, informative and responsive. He is an amazing surgeon, a miracle worker who has saved my life, and I am incredibly grateful to him and his team. Dr. Rozbruch had the answer for me and I’m sure he’ll have an answer for you, too.
Diane Hitchcock, Noank, CT — knee replacement
Dear Dr. Westrich, In case any of your patients need inspiration, here are a couple of pictures of my first rock climbing adventure 5 1/2 months post-op! Not bad for a 56-year-old woman!
Diane Hitchcock rock climbing at 5 and a half months post op
Sharon Frazier, New York, NY — hip resurfacing
I am so grateful to Dr. Michael Maynard for giving me back my hip! On July 15, 2009, Dr. Maynard performed a hip resurfacing operation on my right hip, and I am now fully restored back to a pain-free and active life again!
In June 2008 I was hit sideways by a New York City bike messenger on 86th street resulting in a severely sprained ankle, a concussion with 6 stitches, and a very bad bruise on my right hip. Upon my recovery, I continued to train my clients in cardiac rehab by walk/running in the park, dance classes, and a full teaching schedule in movement therapy. I was in constant pain when I finished my classes and had to stop my activities of dancing and running.
I phoned Dr. Sculco at HSS, since I have worked with his patients for over 20 years as a movement therapist, and asked him for a referral for hip resurfacing. He referred me to Dr. Maynard and stated that he was the perfect doctor for me! I was frustrated as I had seen 5 other doctors regarding the hip resurfacing operation and they all wanted me to do a hip replacement. I am 56 and most of the doctors believed my bones may not be strong enough for the re-surfacing. I had a bone scan and the numbers in the scan were 8 years ahead of my age.
Upon my first appointment with Dr. Maynard, his warmth, candor and explanations about my options captured me. He understood I was a dancer and athlete and that I make a living helping other people with movement. I needed to have a hip operation which would never limit my work with movement or performance.
Dr. Maynard explained my options very thoroughly, calmly explaining all the items I would have to address after surgery to recover full mobility for my job. Before the operation, I had difficulty walking 5 blocks and had not been able to dance for a year due to pain. I had tried acupuncture, massage, rolfing, and anti inflammatory drugs to deal with the pain that I lived with on an ongoing basis.
To recover full dance mobility, Dr. Maynard had explained I needed intensive physical therapy for five to six months at HSS, including stretching and strength work for all the muscles in the hip. I added ballet bar classes with the Pilates reformer and Yoga for my own personal rehab 7 months after the operation.
Dr. Maynard and Dr. Sculco are both most pleased with my recovery and mobility!
A year later I have full mobility and have started my dance training again at Alvin Ailey. I dance and perform the Brazilian Samba, so I now am in classes to resume this dance. I am also in classes for African and Haitian dance. I recently started jumping rope and running again.
I am teaching the Sharon Frazier Method which blends Yoga/Pilates/foam roller/Core Fusion with Restorative Movement to my clients with no limitations.
People have trouble determining which hip was operated on!
Sharon Frazier, post op, demonstrating the Sharon Frazier Method
Sam Greg Kruski, West Palm Beach, FL — total hip replacement
On May 25 of this year I had a total left hip replacement performed at HSS by Dr. Robert Buly.
Prior to the operation I virtually had no hip joint left and could barely walk. After the operation I was walking pain free without a cane in one week, driving and back to work in five weeks. I have not felt this good in two years! I credit this success to the excellent care that I received at HSS and to Dr. Buly. I have since recommended HSS and Dr. Buly to many people here in Florida who need orthopedic surgery. I tell them it is worth the trip!
Sam Greg Kruski post op
Kim Pearson, Stamford, CT — ACL surgery and cartilage repair
My name is Kim Pearson and
Turns out on the first attempt I tore my ACL and following the second attempt I tore both menisci and sheared two big chunks of cartilage at the top of my tibia and the bottom of my femur. Once again within a day I was back to see Dr. Shubin Stein. She immediately sent me for an MRI and then, within minutes of reading the results, sent me to a colleague of hers who specializes in cartilage repair. It was then I met Dr. Williams. Following the same HSS pattern, we spoke at length of my options and made the decision to have surgery the very next day. I am currently at month seven following surgery and I have made tremendous gains. I have a long way to go before I hit the stage again, but I have faith thanks to my family of doctors at HSS that I will get there and again have the best year to date.
Kim Pearson, fitness competitor
Rita Rosenthal, Boynton Beach, FL — shoulder replacement
After several years of escalating pain and disability in my right arm, along with various unsuccessful treatments, I made the major decision to submit to shoulder replacement surgery. I agreed to do so with the caveat that HSS would be the hospital and one of its associated surgeons would treat me. I arrived in New York in time for all the preliminaries and from the beginning was pleased with the care and attention I received. The two days spent in the hospital were also made easier with care and attention given me. I was able to return to my Florida home 10 days post surgery. After three months of physical therapy (three times a week), I completed my recovery, and my arm is working beautifully now. By the way, two weeks after the surgery, I celebrated my 80th birthday!
Rita Rosenthal and her husband celebrating her 80th birthday
Bill Didlake, Austin, TX — hip revision surgery
I had a left hip replacement by an orthopedic surgeon in my home city in 1998 and a right hip replacement in 1999. All seemed to be well and I went for 8 years without a problem. Then in 2006, while playing on the floor with my grandchildren, I dislocated my left hip.
Although that was very painful, the hip was reset without difficulty in the hospital emergency room. Once again all was well for a time but almost exactly a year later I dislocated the hip again. Once again, it was reset in an ER. After the third dislocation some 17 months later, the surgeon recommended and I agreed to a hip revision wherein he replaced the hip ball and socket liner and installed a constraint designed to keep the ball in the socket.
Within days after the surgery I felt a "pop" in the hip; an x-ray revealed that the constraint had become dislodged and was just floating around the ball. Another dislocation ensued. This time the surgeon referred me to another local orthopedic surgeon whom he believed to have more training and expertise in hip surgery. That surgeon recommended yet another revision surgery wherein he would reorient the socket liner to a more horizontal position. Somewhat desperate by this point I accepted his recommendation and once again underwent surgery. Forty days later the hip popped out of joint, then again 42 days after that, and once more 2 months after that.
Before this final dislocation I had already resolved to find the best place in the country to see if this problem couldn't be fixed once and for all. A nationwide search led me to Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. Douglas Padgett. When Dr. Padgett heard my story and examined me he said he could fix it and the procedure he described was unlike that which either of the previous surgeons had recommended. I found I had the utmost confidence in Dr. Padgett and what he had to say so I chose to undergo the third revision surgery within a year. As of this writing, I am about 5 months post surgery and all seems well. Although I am careful not to do anything stupid (like playing "horsy" on the floor with my grandchildren)
Bill Didlake, post op in Cape Town, South Africa
Bill Didlake, post op, on vacation
Bill Didlake, post op, fishing
Ralph Carlucci, Commack, NY — hip replacement
I lived with the pain down my leg for nearly two years. Slowly, I allowed it to rob me of day to day activities. At the age of 53, I was convincing myself that these were things I just had to get used to and I am grateful that my wife wouldn't allow me to accept that. She insisted that I see an orthopedist who suggested a surgical evaluation.
From the very first appointment with Dr. Salvati I knew that I had made the right choice; not only to consider total right hip replacement, but to have it done at Hospital for Special Surgery. I can’t say enough about Dr. Salvati, his staff and everyone with whom I came in contact prior to, during my hospital stay, and after my release. Their attention to every detail allowed me to focus on nothing other than my own rehabilitation and that has proven to be truly life changing.
Prior to the surgery I was at a point where I could barely walk from my office to my car without fatigue brought about by the pain. I had long since stopped any kind of exercise routine, which I once followed regularly, and I felt the effects of that in everything I did. I also didn’t fully appreciate the effects of sleep loss, directly related to the pain, on my ability to focus at work and elsewhere. Following the surgery, all of that started to change.
Discharged from the hospital after three days, in-home rehabilitation went amazingly well. Sleeping improved almost immediately and in less than 3 weeks, delayed due to snowy weather, I progressed from walking indoors to walking outdoors, building strength and endurance. Once I returned to a regular exercise routine, including the use of an elliptical machine, I felt as though I had gotten the life I used to know back again. Being able, through exercise, to sustain the energy I need to fulfill the obligations of a challenging career, work in my own yard, and keep up with my grandchildren, are the things that I was losing and have been able to regain. For that, I am extremely grateful.
I can hardly believe that I am writing this less than five months after surgery. There are times when I have to remind myself that I have a new hip. We just got back from a family vacation to Disneyland where walking all day with our grandchildren was the norm and I had no trouble doing it. That simply wasn’t possible 5 months ago.
Ralph Carlucci, post op, on vacation to Disneyland
My name is Donna Fennikoh and I have always led a very energetic and active lifestyle. I am a self-professed gym rat and a diehard Mets fan. I have never been able to sit still for very long. I love to be outdoors, at the ballpark, beach, traveling, hitting tennis balls or home cooking a gourmet meal, but this all came to a screeching halt due to chronic, unceasing back and leg pain. Never have I experienced such debilitating pain in all my life. The absurdity! I have no history of back pain. I am physically fit. I had no trauma to my spine. The paradox!
After months of conventional treatment, an MRI revealed severe, very progressive degeneration of L5-S1 and other related issues. Subsequent MRIs also showed a torn labrum in my hip. After isolating the pain with the use of hydrocortisone injections in my hip, my HSS surgeons (Dr. Sandhu, Dr. Mayman) were confident that the bulk of the pain was from the back issue.
Dr. Sandhu and I, after several meetings and discussions, decided to go with the much less invasive discectomy rather than a spinal fusion. We knew that the possibility existed that I may ultimately need the fusion but trying the less invasive surgery made the most sense. My surgery was in February, 2010. I must admit, I was very nervous, as I never had any type of surgery. I never had anesthesia. I never spent a night in the hospital. But I knew I was in the best hands. I was very confident in my surgeon, and yet I was still a nervous wreck.
HSS set up my pre-op schedule, which included chest x-rays, EKG, blood tests, neurological tests, and so on. It was a long day but I was overwhelmed by the professional, courteous, understanding, and first-rate care that I received. My mind was eased a great deal.
The day of surgery arrived, and from the moment we arrived at the hospital at 6am, I was treated as if I were the only patient they had. I have never been treated so well. It was mind boggling. One person was nicer than the next. My surgery went smoothly and I was very comfortable. My family was treated well and kept informed throughout. I cannot emphasize enough the quality of care that I received. I cannot even find the words. I told my surgeon the next day, when he checked up on me, that my goal, once healthy, would be to find a job at HSS and be part of such a dynamic team.
My surgery, though successful, did not give me enough relief. We are now in the process of scheduling my spinal fusion for July 2010. This is a much more invasive surgery and requires me to stay several nights at the hospital, but my mind is at ease. I know what to expect and I know the care I will receive. I know that after the surgery, my HSS team will see me though my recovery process.
Donna Fennikoh, Spine Surgery post op and avid Mets fan
Bernard, Port Washington, NY — shoulder surgery
After 7 surgeries at HSS, I do not know if the title of ambassador is appropriate. Is there a title higher than that? How much faith do I have in this institution? I stopped my business as a contractor, which I had built up for seven odd years, to work for different companies, in the search for one with the right healthcare insurance, that would pay for my most recent operations. How much do I trust HSS? I bet everything with the knowledge I would be receiving the best treatment available anywhere. Besides family and health, what else is there?
Bernard biking post op
Bernard at work post op
Felicia Bruno, Garden City, NY — hip replacement
I had a right hip replacement on Tuesday, February 1, 2010. The surgery was extremely successful, and I was free of the pain associated with the hip immediately. I was on my feet walking the next day. I was out of the hospital within a few days. I returned to work in three weeks. I would definitely recommend Dr. Salvati.
Machla Stiel, Brooklyn, NY — hip replacement
I was operated on hip replacement on Dec 23, 2009 by Dr. Sculco.
Traci Preston, New York, NY — hip replacement
I had a total hip replacement at HSS on February 26, 2010. I had the very best professional care.
Harold, Twp. of Washington, NJ — hip replacement
I have recommended Dr. Boettner and HSS to several colleagues. My entire experience over the years at HSS has always been pleasurable - from the staff in Dr. Boettner's office, to the staff in the lab facilities, to the physical therapists, to the nurses - everyone I have dealt with has been courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and truly concerned for my health, well-being and recovery. I now know first-hand why HSS is ranked #1 across the country in orthopedics.
Judith R. McCarren, Livingston, NJ — knee replacement
I was extremely impressed by the excellent care I received at HSS when I had a total knee replacement in March. I will never cease to be grateful for it. My surgeon, Dr. Boettner, did a magnificent job, and all the nurses and therapists gave me superb care. I was especially pleased by the way my case worker arranged for my rehab at home and for the outstanding physical therapy I received, thanks to her efforts.
Bruce Dixon, Greenwich, CT — knee replacement and Achilles tendon repair
My story is very simple. Dr. Russell Warren replaced my left knee in January of 2005 with excellent results. In November of 2006, I tore my Achilles tendon on the same leg and Dr. Warren repaired that as well. I have had an excellent recovery from both. I play tennis 3-5 times a week, go on bike tours, and lead a very active physical life. NYC is only 35 miles from our home.
Joan Campanella, Riverside, CT — knee replacement
I had a total knee replacement in January, 2010. Success at HSS is all about 3 things: Kindness, Skill, and Dedication. Everyone, and I mean everyone, (including my surgeon, Dr. Paul Pellicci and his entire staff, the admission team, radiology department, nurses, case workers, physical therapists, custodial staff and more!) was kind, caring, thoughtful and respectful. Everyone (aforementioned) did his/her job with great skill, expertise and competence. My job was to entrust myself to their care and then dedicate myself to getting well. I listened, learned, followed directions to the letter and worked very hard to make these wonderful people proud because of their dedication to me and to regain my life back, and to be even stronger than I was before. I am now 5 months out of surgery. After 2 months of intensive physical rehabilitation, I 'graduated' to strength and fitness training and am still 'pumping iron' and enjoying it! Thank you people of HSS, for making this quality of life transformational process possible. I love you all! Just to let you know...I'm 60 years young!
Todd Strassberg, Glen Rock, NJ — hip replacement
On 1/8/10, I came to HSS for total hip replacement. I arrived as a 48 year old looking at my 11th surgery requiring anesthesia, most relating to athletics, with double knee replacement on the horizon. Surgery at HSS was like a call up to the Major Leagues of Professionalism. From the time I walked into the room where I received my anesthesia until the time I was rolled to my car, everything was easier than my trips to other hospitals. The staff made me feel like I was in a cocoon.
Linda Mazzia, Jackson, NJ — knee replacement
Dr. Michael Parks performed a total knee replacement on 2/18/10. With the help of your rehab department, I was standing the next day. On the 4th day, I left HSS and went to a rehabilitation facility. Within a few days, I went from a walker to a cane and 3 1/3 weeks after surgery I walked without a cane. The bad pain for the most part lasted 9 weeks, and then I had aches. I think it is just amazing. Now 3 1/2 months out of surgery, I feel like I was born with this knee and am sorry I suffered needlessly for years and put off the surgery. The hospital staff was so kind. I loved the fresh carnation on the breakfast tray each morning. All in all, I am a very happy camper.
Prafula Rathod, Iselin, NJ — knee replacement
During both my total knee replacements at HSS (1-27-10), the staff from the Hospital and Dr. C. Ranawat's office, were wonderful people. Dr. C. Ranawat and Nurse Sarah West are the best in the business.
Lisa Lawson, New Milford, CT — partial knee replacement
In January, 2010 I visited Dr. Anil Ranawat for the first time. He took an x-ray and did an MRI of my right knee. He told me that I had bone on bone and that a new procedure using a robotic arm would help me. The procedure would be a partial knee replacement. On January 29, 2010 I entered HSS and waited for things to begin. I changed into a gown and waited in the holding area for the doctor to see me. He explained what was going to happen and then someone put a drug in my IV and all I remember was waking up in recovery to my friend standing there. I remained in HSS for the next 4 days. Everyone was wonderful.
Melissa Hoffman, Stony Point, NY — wrist surgery
I broke my wrist in three places and had to have surgery and a metal plate put in. The first doctor basically didn't care and ignored the fact that I wasn't getting better with therapy. In January 2010, I saw Dr. Weiland - he performed a second surgery and it was a big help. Followed that with three months of therapy and I am as good as I'm gonna get. I can't thank him enough.
Heather Willis, Westbury, NY — spine surgery
My 15 year old daughter Roni Cimone had spine surgery at your hospital on 1/18/10. Dr. Cunningham was her surgeon. We were there for 6 days before being discharged. Words can not express how wonderful the staff was. Doctors, nurses, the PT therapist, even down to the aides, gave such professional care to Roni. I truly believe that Roni would not have recovered so fast if it wasn't for God and your wonderful staff. Please say a very BIG THANK YOU to Ron, Rebecca & Mia - the nurses in Recovery. Also to Rosa, Dunston, Maura Keenan & Lucia Fabrizio; these individuals worked on 5 East, the floor that we were on. When we got home, Lucia called to check on us for a few days. As a parent that meant the world to me because I didn't feel alone. Roni is back in school and is doing very well. We had our 6 month check up and she is doing beautifully.
Judy Schumann, New York, NY — shoulder surgery
I am a frequent flyer patient. I love my doctors and the care that I have received, so I keep doing something else to require a visit! Someone said it is my Mecca!
Cheryl Feinberg, Lawrence, NY — foot surgery
My experience at HSS proved to me that there is no other hospital to go to when surgery is necessary. Dr. Martin O'Malley had to perform surgery on my foot after experiencing continual pain following surgery by a different doctor at a different hospital. The differences in care between the two hospitals was overwhelming. The nurses who cared for me pre-op and post-op at HSS were so caring and concerned for my comfort and welfare, from the initial insertion of the IV to settling me into my car for my trip home. I was fully prepared by the physical therapist before surgery as to what to expect and how best to care for myself during my initial post-op period and for my rehabilitation.
Madeline Mirenda, Smithtown, NY — unicondylar partial knee replacement surgery
Even superlatives are inadequate to express my satisfaction with the care provided at HSS.
Lisa Vecchione, Rego Park, NY — knee surgery
After being treated by an orthopedist for almost 30 years, his death precipitated me coming to HSS. It was an easy decision to (choose) where to go, but the whole thought of starting over again with someone new was nerve wracking. The first doctor I saw was Dr. Kennedy. He was understanding of my situation and immediately put me at ease. I knew I had made the right choice. He diagnosed my problem quickly and came up with a treatment plan. As treatment progressed he referred me to Dr. Richman and Dr. Pearle. They are just as wonderful. I wish I didn't have to come to HSS and that I didn't have orthopedic and pain issues, but I am glad that I met the wonderful doctors who are treating me.
Fay Novack, New York, NY — total hip replacement
I entered Hospital for Special Surgery in tremendous pain and barely able to walk. I needed a total hip replacement. I was most fortunate to have Dr. Mark Figgie, a wonderful surgeon, operate on me. As soon the anesthesia wore off, I realized that my pain was gone. By the next morning, I was able to walk the whole floor of the hospital, and on the fourth day, I went home an extremely happy patient. The staff at Hospital for Special Surgery was so very caring and helpful. There was always a smile and much encouragement from everyone.
Bob Giaquinto, Rye, NY — total knee replacement
Thank you Mathias Bostrom, MD and HSS.
Kim Kuhle, Three Bridges, NJ — knee replacement
I chose HSS after 5 years of severe knee pain and dealing with a doctor that couldn't make up his mind about when I should have replacement surgery.
Joan Bibeiro, Yonkers, NY — knee replacement
Seventeen years ago on January 19, 1993, at the age of 60 years and 2 1/2 months, I had both my knees replaced. I had spent a few years in pain...24/7. It was time. I was determined to play tennis again. After the surgery and months of rehab, I walked back onto the tennis court with much encouragement from my tennis partners. Lo and behold...I felt as though I had never stopped playing. Thank you Dr. Stephen O'Brien and HSS. My husband, my children and their spouses, and my eight fantastic grandchildren thank you.
Frederick Len Butler, Babylon, NY — shoulder surgery
From beginning to end, my experience at HSS was nothing but exceptional. The staff was congenial, efficient, and extremely professional. Dr. O'Brien, Kelli Gallagher, and his staff were the only doctors who were able to repair my shoulder arthroscopically. Other doctors that I had been to said the only way to repair my shoulder was to make 3" to 4" incisions on each side of my arm and shoulder.
Vincent Thomas, Verona, NJ — total hip replacement and knee surgery
In 1998, I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the right hip. Being 36 years old at the time, this was a devastating bit of news when I was told nothing could be done at that point other than a total hip replacement. My wife did extensive research and found Dr. Paul Pellicci who performed the surgery in 1999.
James DeLuccia, Little Falls, NJ — total knee replacement
I am a 58 year old retired police officer who for my entire life has been active in sports. I have played golf since I was 5, played tennis while a police officer, and after I retired, ran 5 marathons, including 2 in NYC. Two years ago I started experiencing pain in my right knee causing me to stop jogging and limit all activities. Last year it became difficult to go up and down stairs and I began using anything available to assist me in rising from sitting. I called Dr. Mayman and scheduled an appointment at which time I was told I needed a TKR. The procedure was done on the 25th of March 2010 and was an absolute success. I was walking the same day and have totally resumed all my activities including golf. I played in a Pro-Am golf tournament 10 weeks after surgery. Presently I am without any soreness or stiffness.
Joseph Murphy, Staten Island, NY — knee surgery
Santa Johnston, Chesapeake, VA — knee replacement
My relationship with HSS began in the early 90's when my daughter was a physician-in-training at Cornell. I hurt my shoulder and my daughter recommended Dr. Hannafin. She was wonderful. She fixed my shoulder and some arthritis in my thumb - good as new. So, when my knee started bothering me 10 years later, I called Dr. Hannafin who recommended Dr. Charles Cornell. Dr. Cornell replaced my right knee and several years later my left knee. About 10 years ago my husband and I retired to Virginia where my daughter practices pediatric critical care but we always come home to HSS when we need an orthopedic surgeon.
Carl Izsak, Forest Hills, NY — partial knee replacement
I would like to thank Dr. Pearle for the wonderful job he has done. I am a 70 year old dentist and I was ready to give up my profession due to severe knee pain. Then I found Dr. Pearle and after our first meeting I was confident he was the right doctor for me.
Edward M. Sellian, Stuart, FL — knee replacement
My story begins some 30+ years ago. I was limping around and at times could not walk. I was suffering with much pain in my knees. I interviewed many doctors and the only doctor that I found was Dr. Tom Wickiewicz at HSS. He was honest and sincere and all the staff was most professional. He recommended arthroscopic surgery and this helped for some years. After some years I was back in pain and unable to walk and function normally. After waiting to the point I could not take the pain anymore, he recommended bi-lateral knee replacement. This was the best decision I have ever made. After 3 months I was like new and my quality of life was restored to almost normal. My time in the hospital was a very good experience under the circumstances. The hospital and its staff were most professional and made my stay comfortable. Over the years, I have had two more knee replacements and two revisions. The replacements and revisions were done only because I lived my life to the fullest and abused and were hard on them.
Marty Shubert, Lake Placid, NY — hip replacement
On 13 Oct. 2009, I had total hip replacement performed by Dr. Eduardo Salvati.
Ann Poovey, New York, NY — hip revision
I had my left hip revised in November, and my right hip revised for a different reason in February. Both were complicated procedures that most orthopedic surgeons could not have done. Dr. Mathias Bostrom did both surgeries and both were extremely successful (life changing for me).
Bill Skidgell, Hopewell Junction, NY – total hip replacement surgery
Eight years ago I went in for surgery up here in Dutchess county only to awaken and find that it was not done because the surgeon thought I was too heavy for the table. I then contacted Dr. Maynard who had a lot of compassion for me and scheduled the surgery at HSS.
He ended up replacing my entire hip and added 4 inches to my leg bone as over the years it had worn down the hip joint. I could never explain my pain. I will say that on the way to surgery, if my wife hit the slightest pot hole or bump, I would cry out in pain.
Two days after the surgery I was transferred to Burke Rehab by ambulance. The driver seemed to hit every single pot hole in the city, and I never felt a thing.
Michael Fenner, Queens, NY – ankle fusion surgery
There was a time when I thought I’d never walk again. I became really depressed. It's hard to accept that as a former professional athlete, I would not be able to walk, run or exercise again. I met Dr. Austin T. Fragomen and he spent the time needed to change my mind-set about surgery. I know I was difficult but he hung in there with me. He performed the fusion surgery to repair my ankle successfully. I will never forget him, or what I experienced. Doc, keep doing what you're doing.
John Foody, Orangeburg, NY – disc herniation treatment
I started seeing Dr. Wyss about 10 months ago after dealing with an orthopedist that was unable to diagnose my condition or provide me any relief from the pain that I was in.
I was also fortunate enough to have the assistance of Jennifer Nuccio. I feel that if it was not for all of her hard work and dedication, I would not be back to work yet. She put in countless hours of her time to sort out the complicated process of two Worker's Compensation injuries that I was dealing with. I truly believe that she deserves to be recognized for all of her hard work I have told her on countless occasions that I would not be able to be back to work if it were not for her. I hope that her supervisors are aware of how lucky they are to have her working there.
Rosalie Sendelbach, New York, NY – tendon repair surgery
Dr. Daluiski and his team are amazing. He is a perfectionist of the highest standards.
Susan K. Gaffney, Keene Valley, NY – double knee replacement surgery
Didn’t climb the whole of Whiteface Mountain, but still, I didn’t use the elevator! Walked both ways, up and down.
Rose-Marie Turley, Jackson, NJ – flatfoot reconstruction, hip replacement surgery
In 2011, after suffering for a year from an ankle injury that progressively worsened, I made my first visit to HSS to see Dr. Martin O'Malley for a 2nd opinion, upon the recommendation of a friend. Soon after, I had flatfoot reconstructive surgery. I can't say enough about Dr. O'Malley's expertise surgically and greatly appreciate the time he took in calming my fears by explaining what would be done and answering all my questions.
When I began experiencing increasing hip pain in 2012, my local OS diagnosed me with FAI impingement and early arthritis. Unfortunately, he said I was too arthritic for arthroscopic surgery, but not enough for a THR. Again, I turned to HSS and was referred to Dr. Buly. He ordered an MRI to be done at HSS. This MRI had so much more detail and showed much more arthritic damage and hip dysplasia in addition to the FAI so Dr. Buly recommended a total hip replacement which he performed in June.
I am now 10 weeks post surgery and have just returned from Ireland. Not only was I able to walk for miles (I even did some hiking), but I was able to make it up to the top of Blarney Castle and danced a little at my nephew's wedding. I look forward to even more recovery as I return to my active lifestyle and no doubt will return to HSS and Dr. Buly when my other hip and knees have reached their limit.
Harry Roscoe, Beacon Falls, CT – total knee replacement surgery
I am a 64 year-old man who has led an active lifestyle including camping, fishing, hiking and bicycling. Over the years my knees had progressively deteriorated to the point where I had to seek medical help. My knees were bone on bone.
I went through arthroscopic surgery at another facility with another surgeon which alleviated the problem for about a year. My existing orthopedic surgeon said that I was too young to get knee replacements because they would wear out and need to be replaced within 10 years. At the suggestion of a friend, I investigated HSS and also Dr. David Mayman. I selected Dr. Mayman because of his use of the latest computer-assisted technology and the positive reviews he received.
I went to see Dr. Mayman at which time he took many x-rays. He then informed me that I would need to have both knees replaced. I told him what the other surgeon said and he said, on the contrary, that the knees that he was going to give me would last 25 to 30 years. I was particularly impressed with the fact that I didn’t have to go there time and again - all was done the same day from x-rays, to diagnosis, to scheduling surgery.
I went into the hospital on a Friday afternoon for surgery at 2 pm for the first knee. I was home by Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. The surgery was handled in an extremely organized fashion and with the comfort of the patient being the first concern. HSS has a team approach. This team is made up of a physician, a pain management physician, the anesthesiologist, the operating room nurse, and of course, the surgeon. Upon completion of the surgery I found that I had no pain. I came home did not feel like I needed pain medication. Within two weeks, my scar had healed.
For the second knee, pretty much everything went the same. I did encounter a little more pain in the recovery, but it was nothing dramatic and I only had to take a minimum of pain meds. One important fact - if you follow instructions, this is almost a painless procedure except for your therapy. I will say that after 3 weeks, the scar was completely healed. Friends look at it and are amazed at its condition as well as my ability to walk normally again with no difficulty.
About the hospital, in all my experience, I have never seen a more caring staff, or more knowledgeable staff, excellent food, and concern over any pain that you might have. To me, it was almost like having surgery at the Marriott hotel.
Therapy is anywhere from 4-8 weeks depending on how long it takes to build up your muscle strength and put up with torture - I say that with a smile. It can be painful at times, but you feel progress with every session. My advice is that you do exactly what you are asked on the days that you are home between sessions. Also consider a pain pill prior to the session.
Alexandra, St. James, NY – ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair
Just before my 16th birthday I tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the cartilage in my knee. I thought my dreams of dancing were crushed. Knowing the reputation of HSS, my mother and I travelled to Manhattan for a second opinion. My surgeon, Dr. Stephen Fealy, is a brilliant orthopedic surgeon who patiently reviewed the options, answered my questions and reassured me that everything was going to be okay.
As a dancer in high school, I had many concerns about the timing of my rehabilitation and recovery. Dr. Fealy explained the recovery process and renewed my confidence that I could return to my intensive training, regain my flexibility and strength, and keep up with a busy college prep schedule.
Although the ACL repair is a relatively simple orthopedic operation, the meticulous preparation by HSS was remarkable. I was amazed by all the staff at HSS - the office staff who efficiently handled insurance issues and arranged for rehab equipment to be fitted and ready for me on the day of surgery, and post op medication to be delivered to my home before the surgery so that it would be ready and waiting for me when my mom and I returned home. It reminded me of a well-rehearsed performance!
The day of surgery, we arrived at 5:45AM and were greeted (by name!) by another remarkably professional and friendly registrar who carefully performed all the necessary functions. When a new concern was identified in pre-op, not one but two anesthesiologists came in to discuss the options for anesthesia. Throughout, nursing staff were thorough and compassionate.
After surgery, I was impressed with the organization of the recovery room and physical therapy staff. Unfortunately, I was not able to go home that night, and I was admitted to the pediatric unit overnight. The nursing staff scooped us up and took care of not only me, but my mom, too! They made sure I was comfortable, and then brought my mom and me sheets, towels and takeout menus to order dinner for my mom. My follow up appointments were conveniently scheduled at the Long Island office. I actually completed my physical therapy ahead of schedule and was back to gradually retraining at ballet within a few months.
When another injury in the fall threatened my performance for the upcoming season’s Nutcracker, I needed to have another arthroscopic procedure to trim the meniscus (cartilage). Again, Dr. Fealy and the expert care at HSS were amazing. The nurses in post anesthesia were so enthusiastic and optimistic; they turned my tears into laughter. Everyone in the team helped me get back to strengthening and training, in time for final rehearsals for my performances. I made a full recovery, was promoted in rank to principal dancer, and danced my favorite duet (Pas de Deux) for my final performance the following year.
My family and I will never forget the expertise, professional and compassionate care I received at HSS. Now I’m off to college in Manhattan, not far from the hospital, and I’m looking forward to returning to HSS as a volunteer. Thank you to all the stars at HSS, for helping me pursue my dreams!
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading these inspiring stories? Click on the icons below. Thanks for sharing!
Please consider becoming an ambassador for the Hospital by sharing your experience with those around you. Your words of encouragement give reassurance to others considering HSS for their care.