At 46 years old I was a very enthusiastic runner and an avid skier. Unfortunately, one trip to Aspen, Colorado changed all that. I took a huge tumble on a double black diamond (a hill I didn’t belong on) and tore my ACL and damaged many of the other supporting ligaments in my right knee. After the sled ride down the hill and an ambulance to the local hospital, I was diagnosed with a torn ACL and was convinced by the hospital staff to have the replacement surgery later that week even though my knee was the size of a soccer ball (bad move!).
I returned back home to Northeast Pennsylvania to begin my physical therapy and long road to recovery. Within 4 to 5 months it was very clear my knee was not right. I was in pain, could barely walk (not to mention run) and my leg bent out to the right like the bow of a bow and arrow. After visiting multiple orthopedic surgeons in my local area, all with dismal prognosis (of living with a brace and never running again) it was recommended, by a local physical therapist, that I go to HSS (a top notch orthopedic hospital) in NYC to get an expert assessment on my knee.
That’s when I met Dr. Marx. He was kind, smart and respected my desire to run again (ahh a first!). He took my case very seriously and provided me with a surprising option. He suggested he perform an osteotomy, a surgical procedure that entailed cutting my femur in half, repositioning my leg to remove the bend (or valgus as Dr. Marx would say), and securing it with a plate to hold the leg in position while the bone regenerated itself in its new position. He made it clear to me that this was a radical surgery that required weeks of crutches (“with no weight on that foot!”) and a long road of physical therapy. I felt so confident in Dr. Marx and his skills and I had such a strong desire to run again I agreed to the surgery.
10 months after the surgery I was back running again. Yes, I did have a plate in my leg and it did feel strange but I was happily running with no pain. 12 months post-surgery the plate was removed and I was on the road to a full recovery.
Dr. Marx’s surgery on my knee uncovered an interesting finding: my MCL which to me, seemed like an overstretched rubber band actually decreased in laxity after the surgery. In other words it tightened up and started to function properly again. Dr. Marx was so intrigued with the results he continued his research (with other colleagues) by performing similar procedures on cadavers. His research is now published and he regularly lectures to other orthopedic surgeons about his findings.
I told Dr. Marx I never considered my legs to be my best asset, but to hear how he is using them to teach hundreds of surgeons how to be better at their work, I now truly believe they are my best asset. What an honor!
I am now 53 and continue to run 2 to 3 miles almost every day. I must admit, I did give up downhill skiing but still love to cross country ski whenever I can. I remember on the first day I walked into Dr. Marx’s office, I was so discouraged that I truly believed I would never run again. I think of him often while running and when I do, I always say to myself “Thank you Dr. Marx!”
Click here to read Dr. Marx’s scientific article on osteotomy that was inspired by Carol’s recovery.
Click here to see Carol Mowry’s testimonial on HSS’s “Back in the Game” blog.
My story can be titled “A Series of Extremely Fortunate Events” which began in 2008 when I happened across US News and World Report’s Special Edition of America’s Best Hospitals. A knee injury from the mid-1960’s had necessitated two surgeries, one of which involved the total removal of the torn cartilage of my left knee. What followed was a lifetime of pain, instability, embarrassment and eventual loss of the ability to fully enjoy my once active life. As a full-time, special education teacher and school administrator, my travel and possible surgery time was limited to school holidays. However, the combination of my determination and the efficiency and zeal of Dr. Robert Marx and his team proved to be all that was needed to transform my dreams of four-plus decades into reality. My initial consultation with Dr. Marx was magical…Presto, I knew that I had finally found my surgeon!! After overcoming a plethora of logistical barriers, I arrived in New York for total knee replacement surgery in July, 2014. Three short weeks later, I was totally equipped to make the three-hour flight back to my home off the coast of Florida. After another three weeks of intense physical therapy, I was back in the classroom, walker and cane in full attendance, to continue with my pain-free life, and happily face the lengthy road to full recovery. I am extremely grateful to Almighty God, to Dr. Robert Marx and his phenomenal team, and to the Hospital For Special Surgery for placing me on this path to my new, pain-free and confident life!!”
—Gail Wisdom, Bahamas
I found Dr. Marx and immediately knew that he was the right doctor for me. My family and I were thrilled with Dr. Marx’s work and positive attitude. It was abundantly clear to me that Dr. Marx and his staff wanted me back on the field as much as I did. He clearly explained my diagnosis, was very approachable and personable, and answered all my questions in great detail, ensuring that I was in good hands. This support and encouragement, combined with Dr. Marx’s superior surgical skills, helped me tremendously throughout my surgery and recovery. I could not be happier with the care I received from Dr. Marx, especially after experiencing the alternatives during my initial visits with other doctors.
Eighteen months after my injury, I played my first home baseball game and haven’t looked back. There is no better feeling than being on the field again, and I owe a great deal of my success to Dr. Marx. I would highly recommend Dr. Marx to any athlete with a knee or shoulder injury who is looking to get back to playing!”
Dr. Marx is a god sent. He and his staff told me what to expect from day one. Literature was given to me about all that I might encounter. I probably could have gotten this material from other surgeons, but I would not get his calmness, his assurance, his warmth and his exteme professionalism. Calls are answered almost immediately from him or his physician assistants.
Three and a half months after my other shoulder surgery I am back at the gym working out with guidelines and looking forward to playing golf and picking up my grand kids. My grand kids think the shoulder scars are cool!!
I have also recommended Dr. Marx to anyone who needed surgery or was having a problem with their knees or shoulders. Thank you Dr. Marx!”
Two years ago, I was the starting varsity midfielder for my high school soccer team, star javelin thrower for track, and was in the best shape of my life. My plan was to attend a Division 1 college and fulfill my dream of playing soccer there. This all changed when I tore my left ACL in the state cup final of my club soccer teams game. I was dribbling beside a girl, and tore it with an effortless cut. It was my sophomore year of high school and I would have to miss my junior year of soccer and the rest of my spring season as well. Although I was completely destroyed by it, I was determined to get back to my full potential. I had an ACL tear, meniscal tear, as well as a microfracture in which another doctor insisted on drilling holes into my bone to heal it.
I trained for a whole year and was finally cleared to return to playing. One day later, while training with the javelin, I planted with my left leg, and it completely gave out on me, tearing again. My mother researched for days and took me to eight different doctors this time, determined to find the best. Every doctor seemed the same to me; didn’t seem to actually care. It was as if I was just another number.
On the last visit, we took the trip up to Hospital for Special Surgery. When I finally met Dr. Marx, it occurred to me that he was the only doctor out of the eight who actually seemed to care. He was entirely sympathetic and actually showed emotion in what he does. Dr. Marx realized my lateral knee ligament had been loose, which had led to the second tear. Out of the eight doctors we visited, he was the only one to notice that. He reconstructed my ACL as well as my LCL. While in the hospital, I had stayed two nights. A week later while resting on my couch, I received a phone call from Dr. Marx just to see how I was doing and feeling. To have a personal call from the doctor himself really ensured me that I had been in good hands.
After yet another difficult year of rehab and training, I decided I would return to the sport I loved. I ended up still throwing javelin at my high school and earned 1st place in my division. I am currently a freshman at Philadelphia University, and in the Physician Assistant Program as well. I am also playing Division 2 soccer here on the Women’s team and am loving every minute of it. I haven’t had any problems with my knee and it’s never felt more secure, stronger, or safer before this. I owe all my gratitude towards Dr. Marx and Hospital for Special Surgery, not only for my recovery, but for giving me a direction on where I want to go with my life. After becoming a physician assistant, my dream is to hopefully work at HSS, live in New York, and help young athletes like Dr. Marx did for me.”
I thank God that I found Dr. Marx and he took me on as a patient for my knee replacement. I know I had the best surgeon, in the best hospital and the best possible outcome. Also, Dr. Marx has the finest professional staff I ever encountered. Without exception, every single individual on his team is outstanding. From my first call to the office when I spoke with Jessica, I was completely at ease. Most of my conversations have been with Jessica or Natalie and on every occasion my concerns were handled professionally and promptly. Everyone has been wonderful. They are the best team a doctor could have. Thank you!”