When she was 19 years old, Michele Bobe was in a serious car accident, and more than 20 years later, at age 42, she’s still suffering the consequences. She’s been living in chronic pain stemming from her injuries, specifically from severely damaged cartilage in her knees. After trying an array of pain management therapies, this year, Michele finally found lasting relief in medtech.
PAIN'S CONSTANT PRESENCE
Michele’s car accident happened fast, but its impact spread gradually. The crash decimated the cartilage in both her knees, limiting her movement and causing significant pain. A trip up or down the stairs meant sharp, shooting pain. Walking long distances – even walking a few blocks – was nearly impossible. Eventually, Michele received a handicap designation, unable to manage even the short distance between an unmarked parking spot and the grocery store.
Over the course of 20 years – from her accident until one year ago – Michele would undergo six knee surgeries to attempt to restore her knee damaged cartilage and, ultimately, her mobility and quality of life. While each surgery helped slow further deterioration and provided temporary relief, Michele’s pain continued to creep back.
Michele was trapped in a sedentary lifestyle she hated. She couldn’t do the things she loved with her family, like fishing at the lake. Her young daughter quit asking her to join in on motion-centric activities, having grown accustomed to Michele’s limitations.
Michele tried a variety of therapies – including prescription narcotics – but nothing seemed to work. Her orthopedist worried Michele’s only remaining solution would be a total knee replacement, but the doctor hesitated to recommend the surgery due to Michele’s young age. Instead, the orthopedist referred her to a chronic pain specialist, Dr. Shehzad Choudry at Carolina Pain Consultants in Raleigh, North Carolina.
AN INNOVATIVE MEDTECH SOLUTION
Dr. Choudry recommended Michele try an innovative medtech genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation. During the procedure, a generator device would transmit a small current of radiofrequency energy into Michele’s knee tissue and thermally deactivate the sensory nerves sending pain signals to her brain. The procedure would be minimally-invasive, done in a comfortable outpatient setting.
“What I like is that it’s an outpatient procedure that is easy to perform and provides an impressive amount of relief to my patients,” Dr. Choudry said. “We’re giving people hope who didn’t have hope before. [This technology] is much safer for my patients than prescribing narcotics for the rest of their lives.
Michele received the treatment on both of her knees, and just four days later, her pain had dissipated significantly. In fact, she was able to walk – even run – up and down the stairs pain free.
“I couldn’t be happier with the results,” Michele said. “It’s absolutely worth it. I would do it again.”
Just a few weeks later, Michele returned the handicap sticker on her car. She’s walking and doing light exercise regularly.
“I’m not holding back anymore,” Michele said.
Best of all, Michele’s keeping up with her active, energetic daughter once more. Just recently, they went strawberry picking together.
“Thank you, Dr. Choudry, for giving me my mom back,” Michele’s daughter said.
Read more about medical technology’s role in pain management.