NAME: Mary Wolff-Ingham

PRODUCT: Conformis iTotal CR and PS

SURGERY PERFORMED BY: Ian McDermott

LOCATION: London Bridge Hospital

“Living with osteoarthritic was terrible, the pain was excruciating. Every day was a battle against wanting to do the ‘normal’ things in life but being unable to do so because the pain was so bad. I felt old before my time.

The tipping point case when we had planned to go to Florence for a long weekend. I remember it so clearly. After a particularly bad day pain wise I just said to my husband “what’s the point?”. I knew I would be in too much pain to walk around the art galleries and beautiful cobbled streets of Florence to enjoy it. We cancelled the trip and I decided I had to do something to get my life back.

I was very close to getting a ‘bog standard’ off the shelf knee don’t privately but that all changed when I got chatting to one of the assistants at my local bike shop about knee replacement surgery. He told me that before I did anything I must check out custom made knees which use the latest 3D technology and would create a knee designed just for me. So, my research led me to Conformis and in turn to my surgeon Ian McDermott. The rest is history!

Having had the surgery, I felt transformed. I now feel younger and fitter and I am definitely happier. My Conformis knee has given me my life back. I can now run for a bus when I am running late and actually catch it. I was so happy to be able to dance at my friend’s wedding and we even rebooked our trip to Florence. I was able to cycle along the through the countryside and on another trip to the South of France I was able to walk along the stunning coastline.

Having a Conformis knee has made the impossible seem possible.”

We never know when fate will take a turn that could alter our life forever. For Lauryn Kapiloff, it happened on a family vacation. Her mother, Tracy, begins the story: “We were on a ski vacation over Christmas, four or five years ago.”

“My skis crossed in the back,” recalls Lauryn, “and I hit a tree.”

Her mother Tracy described the injury: “They realized that she had a femur fracture, but in her growth plate.” Even after the fracture in her upper right leg healed, the leg would end up shorter, posing a life-changing challenge. “After she completed her growing, Lauryn would have had a two-and-a-half-inch discrepancy from one leg to the other.”

The Houston surgeon who originally treated Lauryn recommended a limb lengthening procedure using the PRECICE system. When that physician announced his retirement, the family chose Dr. Mark Dahl to work with Lauryn.

Dr. Dahl described his approach: “When a family decides to have a bone lengthening procedure, we analyse the patient by examining them, getting a history of how this developed, what their specific problem is, and set realistic goals; what we can accomplish. And make sure that you’ve got a match, and make sure that your expectations will be satisfied.”

Dr. Dahl compared normal, unaided bone healing with the results of PRECICE limb lengthening. “Oftentimes, the bone straightens itself spontaneously, and remodels with growth of the child. And there are times that a child can have a fracture at the age of four, and you can never see it on an x-ray at the age of 14. The same is true with bone lengthening sites.”

Lauryn and her mother remember the extension process, with Lauryn saying, “I had to deal in lengthening four times a day for a minute each time.” Tracy says, “It was a part of our daily life for the regimen that he prescribed.”

Still, Tracy recalls, “She could do everything. We swam in a pool, we went and visited her friends at camp, we went to a baseball game, and you couldn’t tell that there was anything going on with her.”

Looking at images taken a year later, Dr. Dahl says, “Notice that her legs are nice and straight; they’re matched. The rod has done its job, and the body has done its job. Removing the device is straightforward. It’s best if the surgeon that put it in is the one that takes it out. Generally, not too much pain afterwards, generally not too much restriction of activities.”

Tracy helped Lauryn with the sometimes-difficult rehabilitation phase. “It was a challenge, it was painful, and she didn’t want to do it every time because you have to know that it’s a commitment. You have to go to the doctor, you have to do the x-rays, you have to do the lengthening even when your child doesn’t want to, even when it’s uncomfortable. So, I would say, ‘It’s going to be worth it in the end.’ And now that she’s able to participate in everything she wants to, she realizes that all her hard work paid off.”

Lauryn’s view is very positive. “I really love the arts. I liked singing, and dancing, and acting. I hadn’t done just dance, and I really wanted to try it. Now that I’ve had the surgery, it’s just so much better.”

And, how does she sum up her PRECICE leg lengthening experience? Lauryn says, “It’s changed my life.”

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