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Back in the Saddle - Kirsten VanderBurg


Jun, 2018

Physicians: Daniel Sohn, MD

When Kirsten VanderBurg of St. Joseph hit the slopes to enjoy one of her favorite winter activities, she was expecting a day of fresh powder and fun. But as she was skiing moguls, she heard a loud pop and instantly knew something was amiss, suspecting a serious knee injury.

From a previous shoulder surgery, Kirsten had an established relationship with orthopedic surgeon Daniel Sohn, MD. As soon as she returned home from the trip, she called him to schedule an appointment.

An MRI showed she had torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a band that connects the thighbone to the main bone in the lower leg and stabilizes the knee joint. A tear can occur when the ligament is forced beyond the normal range of motion. To treat the tear, Kirsten would need surgery.

“Preparation for surgery was so thorough,” said Kirsten. “Everyone I spoke to was so nice. They put things in layman’s terms without talking down to me.”

Although the prospect of surgery can be nerve-wracking for some, Kirsten felt at ease and fully informed throughout the entire process.

“Dr. Sohn did a great job explaining what to expect,” said Kirsten. “He even showed me a video simulating the procedure, describing what he would do during the surgery.”

A few weeks later, Kirsten underwent an outpatient procedure to repair her ACL. Dr. Sohn used a technique called arthroscopy, which involves inserting a long, thin tube with a tiny camera and tools into the joint through several small incisions. During the surgery, the torn fibers are cleaned out, and a cadaver tendon replaces the torn ligament.

Kirsten went home the same day as the surgery. In the days following, she was soon moving around and on the road to recovery.

“Everyone was so kind to me,” said Kirsten. “One thing I’ll always remember is shortly after surgery I received a get well card in the mail that had been signed by all my nurses and doctors. It was such a thoughtful touch.”

Kirsten leads an active life and is looking forward to getting back to activities she loves, such as skiing and horseback riding, as she works to complete her physical therapy. Above all, she is thankful for how smoothly her surgery went, so that she can get back in the saddle.

*Photo credit: Ted McDonald


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