In the first surgery of its kind at Rambam, surgeons successfully transplanted the meniscus of a deceased donor into the knee of a young Israeli soldier
RAMBAM: In the first surgery of its kind at Rambam, surgeons successfully transplanted the meniscus of a deceased donor into the knee of a young Israeli soldier. Ben Goldenfarb (21) suffered from a torn meniscus in his knee and his condition deteriorated during his tank commanders' training course, causing him intense pain and severely limiting his mobility. In the first surgery of its kind at Rambam, surgeons successfully transplanted meniscus cartilage from a deceased donor into the knee of the young soldier. The meniscus is a thin fibrous cartilage, which acts as a "shock absorber" for the knee. Injury to the meniscus is likely to result in friction of the joints, severe pain and limited movement. When more conservative treatments such as rest and physiotherapy are ineffective, arthroscopic surgery may be an option. In severe cases, it may be necessary to surgically replace the knee joint. Ben was born with an abnormally thick meniscus and during fitness training in his tank commanders' course, the condition of the meniscus deteriorated further. He suffered debilitating pain and impaired mobility and underwent two surgeries on his knee, which did not resolve the problem. "A young man in his early 20's without a meniscus will rapidly experience a reduction in his quality of life," explained Dr. Ofer Sachs, Senior Physician at the Orthopedic Department of Rambam, who performed the surgery with Dr. Bezalel Peskin, Director, Knee and Arthroscopy Unit . Dr. Sachs added: "The young man's meniscus was totally shredded and he was already showing early signs of bone damage. He suffered from pain and swelling and was unable to exercise. There was an urgent need for an intervention to help him with the next twenty years of his life. In the past there was nothing to do in such situations except for physiotherapy and later for knee replacement surgery. Replacement of the knee joint is an excellent solution for older people. But for young people, we try to delay such procedures for as long as possible because these knee replacements also erode over time. The transplant of the meniscus from the human tissue bank is well suited for young people with severe damage to the meniscus." The surgery lasted about four hours using sterilized meniscus tissue obtained from an international human tissue bank. The surgeons fit the meniscus to the young soldier's joint and fixed it in place so that it would be stable and suitable for the movement of the knee. The Orthopedics Division of Rambam is one of the leading orthopedic departments in Israel, providing state of the art services for all orthopedic conditions. The Department has particular expertise in treating combat injuries, having cared for most of the soldiers injured in military conflicts in recent years. Rambam has established the Special Operations Clinic, which provides soldiers from Israel's elite combat units with superb care, including immediate consultation with specialists, prioritized surgery and the most advanced treatment modalities. Rambam strives to provide the best possible medical care for those who are injured while dedicating their lives for the security of the State of Israel.
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