In a major medical first in the Cayman Islands, doctors at the Cayman Islands Hospital completed a groundbreaking meniscus transplant surgery on a local patient – the first of its kind in the island and the region.
The medical team led by visiting Specialist, Dr Ivan Wong, Associate professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Dalhousie University in Canada and his colleagues from the Cayman Orthopedic Group assisted by the staff of the Health Services Authority successfully completed the two-and-a-half hour transplant surgery on a 46-year-old female patient on Thursday, October 11, 2018.
Prior to this new surgical procedure, “there weren’t many options for active patients who experienced persistent knee pain,” said Dr Wong. “Damage to the meniscus can lead to arthritis and the need for knee replacement surgery.
Meniscus transplant surgery is only done by a few specialists in the world and typically in highly specialized and large academic medical centres. “This is a major achievement to have successfully performed this surgery in the Cayman Islands, and is a reflection of the professional capabilities of the medical team, exceptional clinical quality and standards of care in the island and the Health Services Authority,” said Dr Wong.
The meniscus is the cartilage between the thigh and shin bones. It is the main shock absorber of the knee and helps to prevent arthritis. Once damaged, the meniscus has a very limited ability to heal. The meniscus transplant is inserted into the knee joint through a small incision and patients typically can go home soon after the operation. After surgery, they undergo a 6-12 week rehabilitation programme.
An avid outdoors personality with a passion for lawn tennis Ms Frizzelle is looking forward to getting back into her regular routine following recovery. “It’s nice to know that the Cayman Islands and the Health Services Authority has the calibre of physicians here to be able to do this surgery and the recovery time is fantastic,” said Ms Frizzelle.
According to Dr Wong, many people still suffer from persistent knee pain but may not be suitable candidates for knee replacement surgery but could benefit from advanced reconstructive surgeries such as meniscal transplant with restoration to full normal activities and the hope of preventing arthritis.
Chief Executive Officer of the Health Services Authority, Lizzette Yearwood commended Dr Wong and his team on the successful outcome and the strong partnership forged by the Health Services Authority, the Cayman Orthopedic Group, and the private sector medical community to continuously advance the scope of services available to patients in the Cayman Islands.
“The Health Services Authority continues to pioneer new breakthroughs in clinical procedures and patient outcomes in the Cayman Islands and the region and this is another example of our continued efforts to bring new clinical programmes to the island for the benefit of patients. We are pleased with the success of this procedure and the partnership with Dr Wong and his team.”
Patients with acute and chronic knee pain who believe they could benefit from the procedure may discuss their options with their primary physician or schedule an appointment for evaluation with the Cayman Orthopedic Group.