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Patient Testimonials

Temisa CSI Project

Dear Richard,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation that I write on behalf of our patients, my department and all hospital staff, to thank you, and all surgical teams involved, in carrying out this highly successful CSI project to Tembisa. It will be a life changing experience for these patients, many of whom would have waited for up to 5 years for join replacement at Steve Biko academic hospital. Who would have imagined that a "visionaire" joint could be done at Tembisa. I was personally thrilled and excited to see my mentor, teacher and role model, Dr von Bormann Sr, in attendance. It brought back memories of the late Gordon Siboto.

Doctor, thank you very much for a job well done. Much appreciated!

Kind regards

Sam Malebo
Head Of Orthopaedics

From Steven Johnson

Hi Richard.....It's Steven Johnson. Thought I would let you know that Sky did an awesome grading for his black belt in Japan and passed with flying colors.... His ankle gave him no problems whatsoever.... Thanks once again for you assurances for him to have gone. We are coming to see you on Wed morning next week.

From Brenda Haley

I am at a loss as to what to do, you are rated as top ten, please help me. I am writing from canada.

Which is better autograft or allograft for a very active person. I downhill ski, rock scramble alpine hiking, mountain bike and do karate among many other sports. I heard I could have knee problems using the patella and a cadaver donor could stretch or even fail.

I plan to wear a knee brace with all risky sports, and wondered if the knee brace would prevent re-injury even if it stretches. I heard using the patella has a lot of different risks such as future knee pain. I don't want future knee pain I have enough chronic back and hip pain already and rely on my legs to keep fit.

I have very good muscle strength and spent the summer hiking alpine, rock scrambling and downhill mountain biking with a brace on. My operation is scheduled for January and will also repair the meniscus.

Thank you, I am very confused as to what to choose.



1. A good quality MRI adds information in the majority of complex knee injuries. I order one, finances allowing, in all cases.

2. Hamstring autograft (the patients own) is the worldwide gold standard. This is bourne out by the literature and findings when I was at this years international knee congress in Rio.

3. Patella tendon is a very good graft choice, but has an incidence of up to 30% of anterior knee pain.

4. Allograft is a acceptable choice if can accept the slower rehab and slightly higher risk of re-rupture. Ensure though that the graft used is NOT irradiated as this significantly increases re-rupture rates.
Dr Richard PB von Bormann
021-5541598 Fax: 021-5542974
Cape Town Sports & Orthopaedic Clinic


Thank you very much Richard. That was very helpful.

Groundbreaking surgery brings hope - Article in the Star Newspaper written By ANGELIQUE SERRAO

Johannesburg - The security guards grinned. The nurses chatted animatedly in a group, staring at the man in the suit as he walked proudly down the corridor.

Something spread through Tembisa Academic Tertiary Hospital last week. It was pure excitement.

CEO Sandile Mfenyana walked with a spring in his step along the shiny floors. In his 17 years at the hospital he has never felt this good. For the first time in a long while, inspiration surges among the hospital’s surgeons.

Tembisa Hospital, which services a large area in Ekurhuleni with few medical facilities nearby, has been chosen out of all the state hospitals in the country to launch a pilot knee and hip replacement (arthroplasty) surgery.

Top orthopaedic surgeons from state hospitals all over the country flew to Joburg to observe the groundbreaking arthroplasty surgeries (operations to relieve pain and restore range of motion) taking place over two days at the hospital.

Medical technology company Smith & Nephew chose Tembisa Hospital to launch an outreach initiative on a new medical knee and hip replacement device called the Visionaire.

The company sent doctors from its orthopaedics reconstructive team to perform hip and knee replacement surgery on 11 patients who had waited years to be operated on.

Mfenyana has never before worked on a project of this magnitude. He hopes it is the start of more to come.

“We are drawing encouragement from this successful project,” he said. “This is a big source of inspiration for us. Everyone in the hospital is so excited. Even the porters know about the surgeries and are talking about it.”

Two surgical theatres were set aside for the hip and knee operations. While one was a hive of activity, with teams of surgeons taking part and observing the operations, the second was prepared and ready to go. On Wednesday, four hip replacements took place. Thursday was set aside for knees.

Dr Richard von Bormann was bouncing with energy. In his white Tembisa Hospital scrubs, he had a Tom Cruise Top Gun air about him. Except his fighter plane is the Visionaire device.

He was at Tembisa Hospital early in the morning to perform a Visionaire knee replacement surgery. Eight top orthopaedic surgeons from state hospitals around the country stood by and watched him perform the procedure.

Von Bormann is the president of the SA Knee Society and a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has now completed 15 Visionaire operations. He had previously flown to the US in Memphis, where he received training.

Von Bormann flew in from Cape Town to perform a replacement Visionaire knee surgery on Edward Mazini, 62.

He cannot stop singing the praises of the new device, technology that is less than a year old. What makes the medically designed knee unique is that it is made to the specifications of the patient. Previously, knees were generically produced.

Smith & Nephew now sends an MRI scan of the knee and a complete leg X-ray to their lab in the US. A 3D model of the leg is created and the replacement knee is made exactly according to the patient’s anatomy.

Von Bormann said surgeons could now plot ahead of the surgery, working out exactly where to cut the bone, leaving a better chance of getting the leg straight.

“This device is amazing. It is the future of knee replacement,” he said. “Once you get the surgery right, it’s quicker and cheaper and will become a tool for cheaper knee ops. In a traditional operation, you have to drive a rod up the long bone of the leg, which bleeds profusely. We don’t have to do that in this operation.”

When Mazini was admitted to Tembisa Hospital last week, he sat quietly next to his hospital bed, holding a wooden walking stick. He has had pain in his knee for so long he can’t even remember when it began.

He was overjoyed when he heard he was getting the surgery he had waited for so long. When he recovers, the first thing Mazini wants to do is throw away his walking stick.

Yvonne Chepkonga, accounts executive in the advanced surgical division at Smith & Nephew, said the reason they chose Tembisa Hospital to carry out their community outreach programme was that it serviced a deserving community with a poor socio-economic background.

It also has a long waiting list of people who need hip and knee replacement surgery.

- The Star