Successful cartilage regeneration patient
In the summer of 2004, Tori Hooper, a Westminster, Maryland high school student, injured her right knee while playing field hockey. Although the knee hurt, Hooper - the captain of her team and a typically enthusiastic competitor- decided to tough it out. By fall, she was really hurting.
Hooper went to see an orthopaedic surgeon, who discovered that she had torn the meniscus cartilage in her knee and also suffered from debilitating OCD (osteochondritis dessicans), a condition that weakened and loosened the knee’s articular surface cartilage.
She had arthroscopic surgery, during which 80% of her torn meniscus was removed and 4 tiny holes were drilled into her knee to encourage formation of cartilage-like scar tissue to reinforce the loosened articular cartilage.
After 21/2 months of recuperation, Hooper thought she was better. But, when severe pain returned she sought another physician’s opinion. She was understandably distressed when he warned her that she could lose her leg if her OCD wasn’t treated successsfully.
Searching for a specialist in cartilage restoration, Hooper’s mother learned of Dr. Trice and the Johns Hopkins program in Cartilage Restoration at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Between June and December of 2006, Hooper underwent 3 operations. After assessing her condition carefully, Dr. Trice extracted cartilage cells to be grown in a laboratory. Later, he implanted the newly grown cells into her knee to foster articular cartilage regeneration. He also transplanted a donated meniscus into her right knee.
Hooper’s recuperation took several months. By then she was a student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and had to use a wheelchair to get around campus. But her parents, girlfriends, and boyfriend helped her cope and maintain a positive attitude.
Recently, now 20, Hooper says, “I feel one hundred percent better! I no longer have pain in my knee, and it no longer gives out on me. I can walk, exercise and just be a normal college kid again. I am very grateful to Dr. Trice for all that he has done for me.”
At UMBC, Hooper is studying computer engineering - and thinking of becoming a bioengineer. “With a computer engineering degree and a master’s in bioengineering, I hope, one day, to help other people who have problems like I did,” she says. She is also looking forward to playing field hockey and lacrosse again.
Link to the Johns Hopkins Cartilage Regeneration Center