Debra Clissa of Germantown first learned that the pain in her left
knee was caused by a tumor, she said, "Tell me how long I
at a time," answered Dr. Nicholas Webber, an orthopaedic
oncologist with Aurora Advanced Orthopaedics. His specialty is the
rare cancers that begin in bone or muscle, and the surgery to rebuild
diagnosed in December 2011 at age 54 with chondrosarcoma, a cancer of
the cartilage and the second most common type of adult bone cancer.
While the cancer was aggressive, it had not metastasized (spread) to
other areas, and could be treated with surgery alone.
donít do amputations," Webber says. "Now, in about 90
percent of cases, we can replace the bone affected by cancer."
surgery returns a bone or joint to functionality with metal plates,
cadaver bone or an allograft prosthetic composite (APC) ó a
combination of both. This technique "is our evolving ability to
take an extremity that has become damaged or painful, and return it to
the way it was meant to be used," Webber says.
surgery in January was an APC to replace her knee and the top 6 inches
of her tibia (shin bone). With physical therapy she learned to walk
again, progressing from a wheelchair, to a walker, to crutches and to
a cane. By summer, Clissa was walking without assistance, back to
work, driving, exercising daily and mowing the lawn.
"I do have
limits now, but I knew I was going to be fine," she says.
"Dr. Webber has amazing skill and such heart. I just had to
full recovery in one year. "Debra is on her way back to a
pain-free, functional life," he says. "She didnít have to
sacrifice her happiness for her cancer."