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Knee Overview

Anatomy of the Knee

Arthroscopy utilizes cutting-edge imaging technology to inspect and operate on joint injuries through tiny openings. The term arthroscopy stems from the Greek words “arthro” meaning “joint” and “scope” meaning ‘to look at’. During this procedure, doctors insert a small fiber-optic camera, called an arthroscope, through a minor incision to peer inside the damaged knee area. Additional small cuts allow insertion of miniature tools to clean or repair defects all visualized on a screen.

Unlike traditional open surgery requiring massive gashes, arthroscopy only uses pea-sized cuts. Patients therefore experience less trauma, faster healing with little scarring, reduced pain and rapid resumption of mobility. Instead of an extensive hospital stay, most patients can prudently undergo knee arthroscopy on an outpatient basis and be back resting at home that same day while kicking off a swift recovery.

Complex ACL reconstruction surgery involves rebuilding one or more torn knee ligaments, which are bands of tissue connecting bones and controlling joint flexibility. The four main ligaments around the knee are the anterior cruciate (ACL), posterior cruciate (PCL), medial collateral (MCL) and lateral collateral (LCL). Because ligaments enable stability for motion, extreme sports mishaps or high-impact accidents can overstretch these tissues past their breaking point. Specifically, the ACL helps pivot and cut while slowing knee hyperextension, so ACL tears are unfortunately common knee injuries, especially for athletes. When multiple ligaments require reconstruction after damage, the intricacy and demands of surgical correction ratchet up, dubbed complex ACL repair. The good news is that thanks to today’s surgical advancements, even the most complex multi-ligament knee repairs can successfully get damaged joints back to full function.

Torn meniscal cartilage represents a widespread knee injury. The meniscus refers to a pair of c-shaped shock-absorbing pads cushioning the shin and thigh bones within each knee joint. One resides along the inner knee aspect (medial meniscus) and the other on the outer side (lateral meniscus). Together, these flexible cartilage pieces prevent direct bone-on-bone grinding while enabling smooth joint bending. However, sudden twisting motions can overextend the meniscus past its tensile limits, resulting in torn tissue. As common stabilizers vulnerable to tears from excessive knee stress, damaged menisci warrant prompt surgical repair to avoid cartilage degradation or knee arthritis over time. Knee scope procedures successfully trim or stitch the majority of torn menisci with minimal downtime.

Articular cartilage refers to the smooth, white tissue covering the ends of bones where they meet to create joints. This elastic substance acts as natural padding between bones, allowing them to slide past one another smoothly when a joint moves. Without healthy cartilage cushioning, movement would cause painful bone-on-bone grinding. Knee cartilage specifically protects the terminal surfaces of the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) as they articulate to enable flexible knee bending. As the sturdy yet lubricated buffer material between these bones’ connecting surfaces, cartilage facilitates frictionless joint flexing and weight distribution across the knee. Gradual cartilage thinning is normal with age, but injuries can damage this protective tissue as well, potentially developing into chronic conditions like osteoarthritis over time without proper care.

Knee Pre-Operative Videos

Preoperative Knee Arthroscopy

Preoperative Knee ACL

Tori Homb, APN

Surgical Assistant + Master’s in Family Nurse Practitioning

Tori Homb, originally from  the surrounding Rockford area, graduated from Walden University in 2019 with a Master’s in Family Nurse Practitioning. Tori  has been working alongside Dr. Trenhaile since 2008 in the operating room as a surgical assistant. She has continued her education and transitioned into the advanced practice role as a nurse practitioner and now assists him with formulating diagnoses, treatment plans, as well as providing surgical assistance. Tori helps to manage preoperative and postoperative patient care as well as sports medicine education.  In her spare time she enjoys playing recreational sports such as volleyball, softball, and working out, and running as well as spending time with her husband Shawn, friends, and family. 

Kari Stockton, RN, BSN

Registered Nurse + Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Kari was born and raised in Southern Wisconsin on a dairy farm. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from St. Anthony College of Nursing. Prior to joining Dr. Trenhaile’s team in 2004, Kari worked in the Neuro/Trauma ICU at St. Anthony Medical Center. Kari currently resides in Rockton, Illinois with her husband and enjoys hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Alyssa Fetterhoff
Alyssa Fetterhoff received a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from North Central College. Prior to joining Dr. Trenhaile’s team in 2017, Alyssa worked as a rehab technician at New Millennium Medical in Belvidere, IL. Alyssa aids the Physician Assistants in designing treatment plans, as well as implementing pre- and postoperative patient care.

Dr. Scott Trenhaile

Clinical Assistant Professor/ Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dr. Scott Trenhaile, Orthopaedic Surgeon from Rockford, Illinois, is dedicated to the continuous advancement of healthcare and specialized in knee, shoulder and elbow.

Click to View Dr. Trenhaile’s About Page.

Michael Gilbertson, PAC

Physician Assistant

Michael Gilbertson, a native to Rockford, has been with Dr. Trenhaile’s team as a Physician Assistant since 2004 after graduating from Midwestern University. As part of the sports medicine department, Michael assists Dr. Trenhaile in formulating diagnoses and treatment plans as well as providing surgical assistance. Michael manages all preoperative and postoperative patient education. In his spare time he lives enjoys wakeboarding, hockey and spending time with his wife Kim and children Myles and Kylie.

Ana Holleman

Ana Holleman, has been with Orthoillinois since 2005 working various roles. In 2017 she joined Dr. Trenhaile’s team to be his surgery scheduler. Ana’s key roles in surgery scheduling include setting up medical clearances for patients, notifying the facilities of the procedure and equipment, pre-certifying the surgery with insurance and comforting patients.