Louisville doctors help woman with extremely rare condition

Louisville doctors have helped a woman with an extremely rare type of dwarfism deal with the deterioration caused by her disorder. Monica Zaring, who is one of just two women in the world who has osteodysplastic microcephalic dysplasia, has had her shoulder joint replaced using custom-made implants and instruments, The Courier-Journal‘s Laura Ungar reports.

The 3-foot-6 Bellarmine University student (C-J photo by Matt Stone) started having problems when she woke up one morning last year and couldn’t move her right arm. Over time, she was able to move it again, but not without severe pain. Doctors found arthritis had caused the cartilage to deteriorate, causing the joint’s bony surfaces to rub on each other. “We needed to do something,” said Dr. Ryan Krupp of Norton Orthpaedic Specialists, who was the lead surgeon.
So began months of preparation, part of which involved designing a custom-made shoulder stem, head and socket. Custom instruments were also needed to install the implants. “Krupp even flew to a company lab in New Jersey to try the instruments on a cadaver to make sure they would work,” Ungar reports.
The Dec. 7 operation took 90 minutes and Zaring spent four days in the hospital, resulting in a $85,000 hospital bill; she is covered through her mother’s insurance. Norton Healthcare officials would not say how much the procedure cost, but the custom implant was 47 percent more expensive than a standard one. However, the operation was considered necessary. Zaring, who plans to graduate in December with a degree in communications, does not dwell on future health problems that will likely be caused by her condition. “I have challenges,” she said. “But if if I let them get me down, I’d always be sad.” (Read more)
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