MU freshman first to receive a Mizzou BioJoint after football injury

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COLUMBIA – Jonathan Williams, a freshman at MU, is the first person to receive a Mizzou BioJoint.

The procedure uses organ donor tissues to replace defective parts in the body.

In September of 2013, Williams suffered from a football injury breaking his leg and damaging the cartilage in his knee. He found out he needed a knee replacement but didn’t want to have a metal or plastic knee replacement because he would have to worry about several other surgeries down the line.

“I definitely knew that I didn’t want to be limited by my injury. I didn’t want to have to stop doing the things I really like to do or worry about my knee for the rest of my life,” Jonathan said.

Dr. James Cook, director of the Mizzou BioJoint Center, said there are two parts to the Mizzou BioJoint that make it unique. The Missouri Orthopedic Institute developed a special preservation system and the techniques to implant the tissue.

“Currently the tissue bank system can only store tissue for a maximum of 28 days, and there is a mandatory 14 day disease testing window. So at maximum you have 14 days to get it to the surgeon, to the patient, get everything scheduled and get it in place. We increased that to over 60 days with the preservation system,” Cook said.

Cook explained the Mizzou BioJoint procedure is not limited to just the knee, they can replace any joint or tissue.

“We are trying to get this for people like Jonathan, who are maintaining activity and not thinking about five, six, seven other surgeries,” Cook said.

After his injury, Williams couldn't do many things he enjoyed with friends like golfing, hiking, biking and surfing.

After being in pain for two and a half years, this surgery allowed Williams to get on the road to recovery.

“I am just now walking without a cane or crutches or anything. I am able to bike now. I can’t do jogging or stuff like that, but we’re getting there,” Williams said.

Cook said even though the recovery process is long, it is worth it for active people because they can be fully functioning after one year and get back to sports and activities.