After heartbreaking failed treatments, Bridget Holt never gave up on finding a knee replacement alternative and finally found a way to return to her active lifestyle.
“I would tell other patients suffering a serious knee injury ‘Don’t give up,’” said patient Bridget Holt. For 20 years Bridget did not give up on finding a treatment for her debilitating knee condition.
As a 14 year old volleyball player, Bridget hit her right knee hard on the court. She experienced very minor symptoms from the injury and was back participating in sports in no time. She eventually stopped playing volleyball but continued swimming on her school’s swim team. Her knee occasionally irritated her but nothing too painful. She did not think much of her volleyball injury, but in a few years, Bridget would learn that it was the beginning of a long battle with complications from her knee injury.
After graduating high school, she was accepted to the University of Central Florida (UCF). Her Freshman year, Bridget took a step aerobics class. Once the class was over, she immediately started having severe symptoms in her right knee – extensive swelling, locking and extreme pain – that were diagnosed as a meniscus tear requiring surgical treatment.
Living and going to school in Orlando, Florida, Bridget decided to travel to her home town of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to receive treatment. She had a meniscectomy to remove the torn portion of the meniscus. The remaining meniscus was sculpted to minimize the chance of a re-tear. The tear was so severe that Bridget had swelling in her knee for 6-8 months following her surgery, but she was pain free for ten years after the swelling went down.
Bridget went on to graduate from UCF with a Bachelor’s in Spanish and Business and got married. It was not until she and her husband moved to Boston that she began experiencing pain again. “When I walked up and down the stairs in the subway, it felt like a knife was in my knee,” said Bridget.
Concerned about her symptoms, she decided to consult an ivy-league trained orthopedic surgeon. The physician told Bridget that she had an early onset of arthritis because of the meniscectomy. She was told that she would need a complex and difficult procedure called a meniscus transplant. “Since the physician I saw was well-credentialed and had a positive reputation in the community, I thought that I was in good hands,” said Bridget.
In 2010, Bridget had a meniscus transplant procedure in Boston. “It was the worst experience of my life,” Bridget said. “For the first 3 months following the procedure, my leg blew up. It felt like it was worse than it was before the procedure.” Shortly after the surgery, she and her husband moved back to Florida and Bridget began her search to discover what was wrong with her knee.
“I was in so much pain,” she said. “I avoided most activities because I couldn’t walk or stand for an extended period of time. I asked myself, ‘how am I supposed to live my life like this?’” There was a moment when Bridget was asked by a friend’s seven year-old son to play catch outside. “I cried. I couldn’t go outside and play because of my knee. ‘How was I supposed to ever raise my own children?’” Bridget went to doctor after doctor in Florida and each gave her a different answer—not one doctor knew what was really wrong. Bridget began to feel hopeless.
With encouragement from her father who lives in Colorado and a friend who was a nurse at Vail Health, Bridget decided to travel to Vail to meet with Dr. Robert LaPrade in 2011.
Bridget said, “The first time I met with Dr. LaPrade, he shook my hand, sat down next to me and asked ‘where does it hurt?’ He immediately knew what was wrong. He told me that my meniscus transplant was extruding from the joint, causing pain, swelling and tearing. It needed to be anatomically corrected.”
“Dr. LaPrade is so wonderful,” said Bridget. “He is a hundred percent honest and direct; he won’t tell you something that isn’t true and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. At the same time, he is immensely kind and cares about your health and the outcomes of his procedures.”