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Valley Presbyterian Hospital Surgeons Use Transplant to Repair Varsity Basketball Player's Knee PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 05 April 2012 02:27

17-year-old Patient Looking Forward to Pursuing College Studies


Courtney Barbknecht

Valley Presbyterian Hospital (VPH) recently performed what is believed to be the San Fernando Valley's first meniscus transplant, replacing vital cartilage in the knee of a 17- year-old basketball player by using minimally invasive surgical techniques that had her back on her feet the next day.

Gustavo Valdespino, VPH president and CEO, announced "We are proud to be leading the way in cutting-edge surgical techniques that improve the lives of our patients," Valdespino said. "Our expert medical teams are constantly seeking the latest advancements in surgical techniques, treatments and therapies to ensure our patients have the best possible care and the most favorable outcomes."

Dr. Neil Ghodadra -- an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow and hip - - performed the surgery on Courtney Barbknecht, transplanting cadaver tissue into her knee to replace a damaged meniscus. The meniscus is the soft, fibrous shock absorber that rests in the knee between the two major bones, the femur and the tibia. Dr. Ghodadra also reconstructed Courtney's damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) using a bone patella bone allograft, which is cadaver tissue consisting of tendon with bone.

Courtney was a varsity high school basketball player in Spring Branch, TX, before her injuries and had already undergone two surgeries to repair damage to her ACL. She was still suffering from pain and instability in her knee, and she faced the prospect of developing arthritis without surgery.

"Very few physicians in California perform this type of surgery, even though it is the best method for treating certain injuries, such as the one Courtney suffered," Dr. Ghodadra said. "With this surgery, Courtney's knee should regain its full function, and she should be able to enjoy pain-free walking, running and playing when it is fully healed."

For Courtney, who will graduate from high school this spring, the surgery means she can look forward to a pain-free freshman year in college in the fall.

"If I had not had the surgery, I would have spent college with my knee hurting," she said. "Now I'll be able to play basketball with my friends."

Her mother, Kathleen Barbknecht, said she searched around the country to find a surgeon who could help her daughter and was pleased to find Dr. Ghodadra in Van Nuys.

"Dr. Ghodadra was just awesome," she said. "They took awesome care of Courtney, and now she is doing great. She is looking at colleges. She would like to study criminal justice, and with her knee repaired, she should be able to pursue a career in that field. We love her and only want the very best for her. Now she has a chance to get her life underway."