Runner Undergoes Two MACI Procedures
Physical therapist Jon Gallas has always had a passion for competitive running. Whether it was in cross-country meets or triathlons, Jon’s strong desire to race was undeniable.
After years of competition, Jon began noticing problems with his knees. Everyday activities like playing kickball with his kids became increasingly difficult. Not being able to compete was hard for Jon, and the fact that his pain interfered with playing with his kids made him realize he needed to find a solution. That’s when he was referred to Dr. Van Thiel by a doctor he was previously seeing, all in an effort to help get his knees back in good condition.
Before meeting Dr. Van Thiel, Jon had just recently learned the severity of his knee problems. Jon had microfractures on both knees, and in addition to ongoing pain, he was also beginning to experience swelling.
Dr. Van Thiel’s proposed treatment plan included a relatively new procedure: the Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation Procedure (MACI).
The MACI procedure involves using a patient’s cells to regrow new cartilage for the knee joint. Although initially hesitant due to the newness of the procedure, Jon decided to trust Dr. Van Thiel’s expertise and move forward with surgery.
“I think one of the things Dr. Van Thiel is really good at is explaining his procedures to a patient. I understood step-by-step what was going to happen next.”
Jon’s first MACI procedure took place in December 2019 and was performed on his left knee. In May 2020, Jon received his second MACI procedure for his right one.
Luckily, Dr. Van Thiel had retrieved enough samples to perform the same procedure on his other knee and found the right opportunity to do so ahead of schedule.
“When COVID hit in March, Dr. Van Thiel called me to set up another MACI procedure to tackle the right knee. Within six months, I had two MACI procedures.”
Jon had undergone two successful surgeries with Dr. Van Thiel – but it wasn’t easy. Jon admitted the toughest part was the first ten days after the initial surgery on his left knee. Standing in place was difficult, and Dr. Van Thiel was initially concerned about blood clots. Not to mention the mental stress that comes with having and recovering from two major surgeries.
Still, after just two weeks, Jon was able to go back to work, and within four months, his knee began feeling normal again.
“In the long run, it’s been a year since my last MACI surgery and I would do it the exact same way. I’m glad I was able to get the surgeries done in the timeframe I did instead of waiting. Functionally, I was able to get back to normal a lot quicker.”