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REVOLUTIONARY CARTILAGE TRANSPLANTATION FOR WORLD CUP ATHLETE

GREAT NEWS FOR MANY ATHLETES WITH CARTILAGE INJURIES

Ageliki Andriopoulou & Dr Lorenzo Benassa

Ageliki Andriopoulou & Dr Lorenzo Benassa

When Ageliki Andriopoulou GRE took the title of World Waterski Jump Champion last Summer, thousands applauded the happy moment on site and it appeared to be the perfect day for her. It was certainly a very special achievement – but she was also in pain. For some years, she actually avoided the Jump Ramp during practice where possible to save her damaged knee for the big World Cup events and World Championships. Just before Christmas, Ageliki decided it was finally time to take action and do something to solve the problem.

Ageliki's damaged knee before treatment

Ageliki's damaged knee before treatment

Dr Lorenzo Benassa ITA is Chairman of the IWWF Medical Commission. He also happens to be a Sports Medicine Specialist plus a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist. Last weekend, his presentation to the Europe Africa Confederation Congress in Brussels caught everybody’s attention. For all our athletes, the content was of very special interest.

For the many athletes with severe joint overload injuries, the common treatment for many is oxygen-ozone therapy. In Ageliki’s case, her knee injury was the result of long term punishment and this often results in an early retirement and is beyond repair. Dr Benassa offered to help and introduced her to his friend Dr Marcacci, also a member of the Italian Waterski Federation. He is an Orthopedic Surgeon at Bologna’s Rizzoli Hospital on Italy’s east coast. To correct Ageliki’s severely damaged knee, he opened the knee, removed the damaged material and then transplanted strips of a synthetic fabric cartilage. This synthetic material bonds to the bone to form a new cartilage and if all goes well, gives the athlete a new re-enforced joint.

Synthetic cartilage inserted

Synthetic cartilage inserted

Sitting in the Brussels Congress audience as the Athletes Representative, was Ageliki Andriopoulou  !  Following surgery some weeks ago, her recovery is going very well and according to plan, she should be back with us in the 2010 World Cup series in the final half of the year. The synthetic material is bonding well to the damaged bone and judging by how quick the wound has healed, it looks like there is yet another great World Cup season ahead for Ageliki Andriopoulou. Her ambition to defend her World Champion title in Dubna, Russia, next year now looks more realistic than ever. Congratulations Lorenzo on introducing this treatment to us – and congratulations Ageliki on her quick recovery.

Here is a photo below of the repaired knee – looks good !

Fast recovery as swelling reduces

Fast recovery as swelling reduces