Michelle’s Patient Story2017-01-03T11:27:22+00:00

Injured Triathlete Gets Back in the Game After Successful Surgery

Michelle and her husband were enjoying a bike ride on a rare sunny day in February, when she was hit by a car. The accident landed her in the hospital with a completely torn LCL and a posterolateral corner injury.

Michelle is a pharmacist in Salem, Virginia. She works three-quarters time and loves that her job allows her the flexibility to take care of her family and enjoy her hobbies.  Michelle is an avid runner, and has completed numerous marathons and triathlons. Running is a really big part of her life. While some people may draw a bath, or curl up with good book after a long and tiring day at work, Michelle chooses running as her therapy.  One can imagine her deep dismay knowing that her injury prevented her from hitting the pavement. In fact, the accident impacted her life dramatically. Not only was she not able to run, she was incapable of walking and could not return to work for many months.

After the initial swelling from the accident, Michelle’s LCL injury revealed itself to be quite uncommon. In Michelle’s case, the meniscus was completely in tact, while the LCL and posterolateral corner where damaged. This scenario poses a problem because it greatly increases the risk of injury, even while performing basic activities, such as walking up the stairs. Knowing this, Michelle wanted to fix the problem before it got worse. Surgery was the best proactive step she could take for a recovery.

Michelle was referred to Dr. Mark Hagy as her orthopedic specialists. “I have so much respect for Dr. Hagy and his gift. He is an incredible doctor, who intently listens to patients and cares deeply about their well-being”, Michelle says of Dr. Hagy. Michelle appreciated Dr. Hagy’s approach to medicine, and liked that he was very humble, kind and positive, while remaining realistic and transparent. Since Michelle’s case was uncommon, Dr. Hagy spent time researching and learning all he could about the injury. He reviewed historical and current literature and spoke with colleagues to determine an optimal plan for the injury, because the outcomes of surgery for this injury are not always good. “Dr. Hagy always listened to my concerns, and he kept me involved in the whole process – he let me make decisions. He was encouraging during my recovery period. I always leave feeling better than when I arrived!” Michelle continued about Dr. Hagy.

Due to the uncommon nature of Michelle’s injury, her surgery was very complex and included a complete replacement of her LCL and posterolateral corner with donor tissue. Fortunately, the procedure proved to be a great success for Michelle. With the collective efforts of Michelle’s entire care team, she is now on track to a full recovery and happily reports that she experiences zero pain in her knee. “I’m blown away by the success of the surgery. As a pharmacist, I spend ten hours a day on my feet, and then I get to come home and run – that is huge for me. It’s incredible”, Michelle states.  In addition, she is actually running faster and more efficiently than even before her injury. While she is not back to running long distances, she feels pleased and is encouraged by her progress thus far.

Michelle happily refers Dr. Hagy any chance she gets. “I always tell people the story about when Dr. Hagy told me he spent time researching and studying my case. I felt that my case mattered. He made it a priority, and invested his time to learn as much as he could to do it right.”

Michele offers this advice to patients who are considering surgery, “Know that you have the power to choose the people who are taking care of you. Always ask questions, seek out second opinions. Find a doctor who you respect and with whom you feel comfortable and confident. I was just extremely lucky that I found ‘The One’ on my first try.”