Katlin Eaton, a student at the University of South Florida, does not take for granted that she can walk all over campus to her classes. Just a few months ago she was cleared to resume all her regular physical activities after surgery earlier this year to reconstruct a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). She had torn the ACL in her right leg in the summer of 2022 while running.
“It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced,” Katlin says. At the time she was in high school and had been very active as the sailing team captain and a drum major in the high school marching band.
Michael MacKechnie, MD, a Cleveland Clinic Florida orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, describes Katlin’s injury as a “complete ACL tear.”
It is one of the most common knee injuries that Dr. MacKechnie treats. He was able to reconstruct the ligament in Katlin’s leg through an arthroscopic, or minimally invasive, procedure. The surgery required only a few small incisions, and Katlin went home the same day.
“It is a faster surgery and a faster recovery,” Dr. MacKechnie says of the procedure as compared to older open procedures. “There are less complications afterward and overall excellent outcomes.”
ACL Repair Surgery Helps Patient Make Strides in Busy Life
Katlin underwent physical therapy after surgery. Dr. MacKechnie says patients can typically get back to running within three to four months and sports and drills at six months. Katlin was cleared for all activities at 8 months.
One of Katlin’s main goals was to run in a 5k race, which she says she was happy to have accomplished this past summer.
“I was super happy I was able to finish the race without stopping,” she says. “Being able to run that 5k from start to finish with the same family members who supported me through the surgery was huge and I can’t thank Dr. MacKechnie enough for getting me to that spot.”
Dr. MacKechnie is pleased with Katlin’s outcome and happy that they were able to schedule the surgery so that she could still do all the things that were important to her in her senior year of high school.
“Our team is very experienced” Dr. MacKechnie says. “We work very hard to give our patients excellent outcomes. We are happy to see our patients getting back to what is important to them.”
Katlin is back to a very active lifestyle at college and is majoring in biomedical sciences. She says her experience with Dr. MacKechnie has inspired her to consider medical school.
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