Complicated surgery technique helps University of Oregon professor return to campus

Dr. Matthew S. Shapiro performs rare kneecap restructuring and realignment procedure

EUGENE, Ore. (June 2013) – A rare kneecap condition left 30-year-old University of Oregon business professor Katie Mercurio suffering with nearly 20 years of pain, until a recent surgery performed by Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine knee surgeon Dr. Matthew S. Shapiro.

At age 12, Mercurio dislocated her patella, leading to years of instability, clicking and popping within her knee. Then, in November 2012, she suffered a second dislocation.

“After the second dislocation, I was limping,” Mercurio says. “I couldn’t walk up or down the stairs and had to stop hiking, lifting weights and attending kickboxing classes.”

Though dislocations can sometimes be treated with physical therapy alone, Dr. Shapiro recommended Mercurio undergo surgery to ensure stability and reduce her chances of sustaining another injury in the future—especially as she and her husband attempt to grow their family.

“Katie’s situation was unique because in addition to the looseness of her kneecap within the knee joint, she also suffered from a rare condition that placed her kneecaps in an unnatural position,” Dr. Shapiro says. “During her surgery, I was able to correct both problems by rebuilding her patella ligament to make a new ligament that will keep her kneecap in place, and also cutting down her tibia to create better placement and positioning of her kneecap within her knee.”

The complicated kneecap restructuring and realignment procedure has improved Mercurio’s mobility, allowing her to return to swimming and hiking, but more importantly, has also allowed her to focus on starting a family with a decreased risk of instability during pregnancy.

For more information about Slocum Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, call (541) 249-4091.