Behind the Scenes: KY3's Paul Adler gets knee surgery

Published: Feb. 7, 2020 at 7:55 AM CST
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Fixing a torn meniscus is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States. On this Fit Life, KY3's Paul Adler takes you inside the final moments of preparation before the surgeon went to work on his knee.

The journey to the operating room started on a sidewalk. Paul tripped on uneven pavement. In a blink, his right knee slammed down..

"I'm pre-opping you," a nurse says to Paul.

Paul replies to camera, "So, here we are. It's been... uh.. about 5 months since I've been able to do my regular running and physical activity that I enjoy."

If you're queasy look away from the video at this point in the story. You'll see what the messed up meniscus looked like. It kinda resembled a couple of chunks of cottage cheese.

Operation day is a team effort. It feels like an army of people enter the room each with a specific job.

"There's also a nurse in the operating room that works with Dr. Vic Wilson (of Mercy Clinic Orthopedics). They're called a circulator," one nurse explains.

"Blood pressure is 122 over 77," another nurse notes.

"I don't like needles. I hope I don't pass out on camera here (laughs)," Paul explains to the nurse.

All this happens as you fast and have to stay away from liquids like coffee.

And, in no shave November, my right leg is getting the treatment. It ends up smooth and sanitized. Then, an iodine gel is placed in the nose to prevent infection.

Next, you meet the guy who will send you off to dreamland.

"You'll sleep totally through the surgery. You won't wake up in the middle of it, remember any of it. You'll get a great nap wake up and it's done," assured Anesthesiologist Ryan Gassin. "I'm a little thirsty and I'd like some coffee, " remarks Paul. "Won't be too much longer and we'll get you a double," laughs Ryan.

Then, you need one more signature from the surgeon. And, it goes right on the right leg.

"We'll get you going here shortly," says Dr. Vic Wilson.

""This will help you relax just a little bit," says the next nurse.

From that point and the entire time rolling to the operating room doors, You could hear Paul babbling. But, he doesn't remember this journey at all.

Mercy's infection control team did not allow our camera into the operating room. But, it would've looked something like this meniscus surgery.

"They put three small holes around the knee. One for the camera. A second hole for saline to keep the view inside the knee clear for the camera. A third hole is made for the surgeon to use his tools," Paul explained.

"We cleaned up some cartilage tears that were in his knee." Dr. Wilson explains. "These are actual pictures that show the inside of his knee."

So, (on the video) here's the before and the after. It's now smooth inside the right knee.

"I'm very happy. He did very well. The surgery itself went very well," commented Dr. Wilson.

"You're on the other side now... how are you feeling?" asked photojournalist Ben Knaup. "Tired," Paul replies. "Is it kind of a relief to be on the uphill potion of it?," asked Ben. "Oof. Yeah. It's a big relief. It was getting, probably couldn't tell. But, I was anxious about it," Paul comments.

And, later that day, you'll be home on the couch. Your knee wrapped up like a mummy's. And, don't expect a long period of relaxation. Rehab start pretty much right away.

But, once it's all done. You can get a nice cup of coffee.

The surgery happened in November. Since it's so common, Paul is hoping that by showing you a behind the scenes look at what happens you can be prepared if you ever have to get your knee repaired.

Next week, we'll look at the physical therapy process starting from about two weeks after surgery.