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Patient Stories

I injured my elbow pitching from over use of my arm. I had a lot of pain and swelling in my elbow. After seeing 2 different doctors they recommended that I see Dr. Christopher Ahmad. I had Tommy John surgery Jan 2009 and Dr Ahmad and his staff were great. The surgery went very well and I had a great recovery. I was able to start pitching late in 2009. The most important part of the recovery is to do exactly what you are told and be patient. This season I am throwing better than I ever have. To get the best results you have to see the best and that is Dr. Ahmad and his staff.

Ever since you performed the surgery on my elbow in August, I have been able to make a full return to baseball and football. Baseball has been great and now I am preparing for a very full summer season. This summer I play 85 games in 6 different states. If I had been in this situation last year, the way my felt before the season I would have to say it is almost impossible for me to make it through the season without injury.

Now, however, my arm feels incredible and I am able to play on the level I want to without feeling any pain. My arm did not lose any of its strength; it actually gained around 8 mph on my fastball. I throw in the range from 80-83 mph and it keeps going up as I continue to keep working my arm out. The pain is no longer there at all. I would dare say it was a miracle, but obviously it can be explained by the excellent work of you and your colleague performed. Again, I thank you ever so much for what you did because I am getting plenty of looks from colleges and it is because of you fixing my arm so I could play again.

I came to you in my sophomore year with terrible pain in my left throwing elbow. You diagnosed me with a broken elbow and a damaged Ulner Collateral Ligament. Surgery was on February 17, 2012. You repaired the break as well as performing Tommy John surgery to repair the ligament. Dr. Ahmad, you told me if I did everything you said and follow all your instructions to the letter everything would be fine. The surgery went very well and I had a great recovery. One year later (almost to the day), I began tryouts for my high school team. I made the team as a starting pitcher as well as a starting first baseman and my arm is better than ever. My parents and I can never put into words how grateful we are to you, Katrina, and your entire staff for giving me back what I love the most…BASEBALL!!!

I am a gymnast and almost three years ago my elbow locked and I couldn’t straighten it all the way. There was no accident that caused my injury, it just kind of happened out of the blue. I came to Dr. Ahmad and found out that I had three, rather large pieces of cartilage stuck in my elbow joint. I needed surgery to remove the pieces of cartilage in order to straighten my elbow and be able to use my arm for gymnastics again. The surgery went very well and a few months later I was back in the gym practicing. My elbow has felt perfectly normal ever since, even when doing a handstand.

I chose a Columbia sports medicine doctor because I was referred by one of my teammates. Everyone involved in my experience was very nice, respectful and helpful. I would recommend Dr. Ahmad to others because I felt that he did a great job and I had a pleasant experience with him and his staff throughout my time spent there. I would give others the advice to choose a doctor who they feel comfortable with and trust. Thanks to Dr. Ahmad, I am still doing gymnastics and have earned a full athletic scholarship!

I’ve enjoyed playing sports my whole life. I have always dedicated most of my time to swimming and softball. I injured myself playing softball. During the game, I jammed my left arm against the base and while doing so I broke my radial head and was out for the rest of the season. When I was told my bones were all healed I thought I was good as new, and started to carry things with my left arm again, but every time I did, my arm would lock up and it would take time, and some playing with, for my elbow to unlock. Dr. Ahmad recommended surgery to fix my problem. He was very accommodating and understanding when I told him about swimming and he told me that as long as my elbow did not lock up while I swam, I could complete the season. On 11/25/09 I headed into the OR with hopes for the best. Thanks to Dr. Ahmad Team I didn’t start the season even one day late. I had a full recovery and have absolutely no problems with my elbow at all. Thanks to Dr. Ahmad I was able to still compete and play in my two favorite sports one last time in my senior year of high school. THANKS DR. AHMAD.

My mom first came upon Dr. Ahmad while researching for someone to take care of my shoulder injury four years ago. I knew other athletes who were not healing and constantly re-injuring themselves or going for multiple cortisone shots; meanwhile, Dr. Ahmad’s treatment was plain rest. I believe that when picking a doctor you must choose one that you have the utmost confidence in; because you have to know that the course of treatment prescribed will yield the best result.

I began to experience elbow pain in early July 2009 and was initially diagnosed (misdiagnosed) with triceps tendonitis by a local physician. Following six weeks of rest with no improvement, in October 2009, I was given platelet injections into the triceps tendon area. Following rest and rehabilitation, I started pre-season pitching in January 2010 and the pain returned while throwing with higher velocity.

In February 2010, I went to see a doctor for a second opinion at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Upon review of my MRI findings and my physical examination, I was diagnosed with a partially torn MCL and he recommended Tommy John surgery to correct it.

My parents did some more research, as they were concerned about me having surgery at such a young age, and learned that Dr. Ahmad was not only the team physician for the NY Yankees, but that he had a special interest in MCL reconstruction surgery. We sought a third opinion from Dr. Ahmed shortly thereafter. Given my age, Dr. Ahmad wanted to try another approach that would avoid surgery and recommended another round of platelet injections followed by an intense rehabilitation program and a gradual return to throwing.

I have successfully returned to pitching and I thank Dr. Ahmad team for encouraging me to avoid surgery.

After break dancing rigorously for years, my elbow began to change but for the worse. I was doing six to eight performances a week nationally and internationally until one day I woke up and my right arm was not able to make a full straight extension. I tried occupational therapy and it helped a little but I knew I needed surgery to remove loose bones around my elbow. My injury was affecting my everyday meaningful activities, life and dance. I did my research and after being referred to Dr. Ahmad, I knew this was the man that could get me back to being a strong, confident, and energetic boy again. Dr. Ahmad took time to learn about what was important to me and why I needed a full recovery. Two months after my arthroscopic surgery, I was back to performing and continuing where I left off. Anyone considering surgery should definitely put his or her trust on Dr. Ahmad. He promised me recovery and that is what I got.

On a beautiful Friday October afternoon, my husband and I decide to take a half day off from work and take our motorcycles out for an afternoon ride and catch an early dinner to celebrate his birthday. We went to a local beach and he took sunset pictures, while I did figure “8’s” waiting for him. As we left the beach parking lot and went through some “S” turns, I hit a very large, thick patch of sand and lost control of the motorcycle and crashed. I went over the handlebars and landed on my right arm and broke my humerus. The trauma was so severe it shredded my deltoid muscle and caused severe nerve damage. I lost use of my arm and hand for many months, while the type of fracture went misdiagnosed.

After many, many months, failed surgeries, and 9 other Orthopedic physicians explaining the trauma I incurred was too severe for them to treat my injury, we were recommended to Dr. Melvin Rossenwasser and Dr Christopher Ahmad at Columbia. At that point my LIFE WAS SAVED! After my final surgery, a shoulder replacement, I have regained the use of my arm and hand almost completely, better than anyone ever expected. I had to learn do everything left handed, including dressing, eating, writing, and all everyday functions, a task much harder then you may think for a 40 plus aged woman. Dr Ahmad never gave up on me or my frustration through the long months of physical therapy and agonizing pain. I owe Dr Ahmad my life and my recovery we would never consider any other orthopedic surgeon.

My name is Kenny and I am 19 years old. I have been playing football since I was 8 and always dreamed of playing college football. During my senior year in high school, I hurt my shoulder during a football game. I saw a doctor after the game who said it was a bad strain / pulled muscle. During my freshman year of college football the pain in my shoulder became unbearable. My mother recommended Dr. Christopher Ahmad because she worked at Columbia and said they had a great reputation for Sports Medicine. When I saw Dr. Ahmad he told me I had a tear in shoulderand needed surgery to repair it. Needless to say, I was very upset. I thought my football career was over, but he reassured me that I would be able to play again as long as I followed his instructions after surgery and did all of the rehab. Dr. Ahmad even worked to arrange the surgery so that I would not miss too much school. He and his team were great, always available to answer questions for me and the rehab team at my school. It has been more than a year since the surgery and my arm feels great and I am playing football again. I would recommend Dr. Ahmad and his team to any of my friends if they were injured!

Sports have always been a big part of my life. Two years ago, at age fourteen, my shoulder was severely injured in a collision playing lacrosse. After an immediate surgery by a local Doctor in New Jersey, I was told I will never be able to return to sports, and not have full range of motion. I was so devastated by this outcome, I started exploring my options. Having my Dad successfully treated for cancer at Columbia Presbyterian, he recommended that we see a specialist there. After careful research, we concluded Dr. Ahmad and his team were the only ones that could possibly help me. Thankfully, Dr Ahmad took on my case, and performed another surgery. The surgery was a success, and throughout the healing process he kept assuring me that I would be able to return to sports.

Thanks to Dr. Ahmad and his team, I am back playing lacrosse at a competitive level, something I never thought I would be able to do. This year, I am really proud that I have been invited to participate in the Blue Chip 225 Lacrosse Showcase.

I would encourage anyone who is looking for an orthopedic doctor, to seriously consider the Doctors at Columbia Presbyterian. Personally, I will never go anywhere else.

Dr. Ahmad is a Rock Star.

In my line of work, I escape from strait-jackets. I lift dancers in the air. I swing from a trapeze. I juggle flaming objects. I fall to the ground. On purpose. Several times. My livelihood as a full time actor, and performing artist depends on maintaining my strength, total function, and flexibility. 5 years ago, that livelihood was threatened by a shoulder injury.

I was having significant shoulder issues—it was hard to pinpoint a precise cause, but do to the physical nature of my occupation, it was a safe bet that I was accumulating various injuries in my left shoulder. Dr. Ahmad was the first professional who assessed my physical needs AND my occupational concerns. He understood that in the treatment of my shoulder, time off from work was also time off from looking for work—a potentially catastrophic cycle. When you’re a free-lance performing artist, this can have devastating consequences on your income, and your career, present and future. Not to mention, there’s always the fear that after surgery you won’t be able to return to your pre-injury activities.

Dr. Ahmad understood that my job demands were unique, and that my injuries needed to be addressed in a manner that would lead to complete resolution. His experience treating people who depend on their bodies for their livelihood (ever heard of the Yankees?) made him a perfect choice for me, but not just because of the ‘rock star athletes’ he handles. You know what? He treats everyone like a rock star.

From the outset, surgery was an option, but Dr. Ahmad understood that it wasn’t something I could enter into lightly. First, he was very clear that we would pursue a non-surgical approach. If that didn’t work out, we could discuss our other avenues. I rehabbed for the next year, and then left town to perform in an international pop music tour. Things weren’t improving, and my shoulder was seriously hampering my performance. It was clear that the benefits would substantially outweigh my time away from work, so we came up with a plan.

Dr. Ahmad’s confidence, care, and skill were evident from our first meeting. He assured me going into this that not only would we be able to resolve the issues impacting my performance, but he was certain I would come out the other side strong enough to play full contact football (and I don’t even know how to play!).

It’s been a little over a year since he worked on my shoulder, and every day I think to myself ‘Man, I’m glad I got that fixed!’ Not only am I doing everything I was before, but now I can sleep on my shoulder, and I don’t wake up with a ‘dead arm’, or feel like my shoulder is full of broken glass. Everyday I wake up pain free, with full strength, and restored stability, and have Dr. Ahmad team to thank.

Dr. Ahmad is an incredible surgeon, a sensitive human being and I am thrilled he’s on my team (and I brag about him to all of my friends).

My son, Austin James, injured his right shoulder in a snowboarding accident on February 12, 2010. He was seen and evaluated at Robert Wood Johnson emergency room. We were told that he had a slight AC joint separation. He was given pain medication and his arm was put into a sling. Austin was discharged that same day and we were told to follow-up with an Orthopedic on Monday.

Austin was seen by an Orthopedic physician who took more x-rays. He confirmed that the AC joint was slightly separated and had some inflammation. Austin was to continue to wear the sling for three more weeks. After three weeks, the doctor told Austin to slowly ease into physical activities. He started to work out for his Freshman Football season to try out for the starting quarterback position. Austin has been playing Pop Warner football since he was five and has been working on his quarterback skills to compete for the quarterback position for his high school team. As Austin tried to prepare for the upcoming season , he had persistent pain in his shoulder. Austin returned to the Orthopedic physician who told us it seemed a little worse than he thought and suggested physical therapy. Austin started his physical therapy with John Basti in April of 2010. After a few weeks of physical therapy, Austin was not feeling much better and John suggested another evaluation by another orthopedist. I asked him for a recommendation and he gave me Dr. Ahmad.

Dr. Christopher S. Ahmad reviewed the previous X-Rays and he was immediately concerned about a possible fracture in Austin’s right shoulder. Dr. Ahmad was extremely considerate of the fact that Austin was a young athlete and how he wanted to return to his quarterback activities as soon as possible. Dr. Ahmad ordered a CAT scan and an MRI for that same day. He called me with the results to inform me that indeed it was fractured and Austin needed surgery to remove the floating bone on clavicle. Dr. Ahmad and his entire office staff were so helpful with all of the information needed to schedule his surgery. Dr. Ahmad performed Austin’s surgery on May 12, 2010 at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (NY Presbyterian.) The surgery was successful and through Dr Ahmad’s follow up care and physical therapy with John Basti, Austin was able to join his team and play quarterback his Freshman year.

Dr. Ahmad’s skill and understanding of a young athletes dreams and long term goals makes him an extraordinary doctor.

When I was 13 years old and playing for Match Fit Academy at the FC Delco Players Cup Soccer Tournament, I was running after a ball at full speed and fell to the ground and landed hard on my knee. I fell on an extremely hard patch of dirt. I ended up winning the 50-50 challenge for the ball but I had a lot of difficulty getting up after I fell. I finished the tournament but was in a lot of pain where I hit my knee. For several weeks after the tournament, my knee continued to hurt in the exact area where I landed hard.

My parents were concerned that my knee was not healing and was still causing me pain. They chose Columbia University Medical Center because they believed that the orthopaedic department was the best in the nation. They were aware of Dr. Christopher Ahmad’s stellar reputation as a surgeon and the extensive experience he has in sports medicine and pediatric orthopedics. I went for a consultation, mri and xray. The mri and xray revealed a dime sized Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) lesion. I was told that the bone in the area of my knee had not healed after the fall and that the bone was soft. There was a danger that if the bone did not heal that it could break off and cause permanent damage. Dr. Ahmad recommended minimally invasive corrective surgery followed by 2 months where I was not allowed to put any pressure on the knee. I had to use crutches for the 2 month period. I rehabilitated my knee after the 2 month period passed through physical therapy. The area of the bone completely healed as a result of Dr. Ahmad’s surgery and follow up care. Dr. Ahmad is a great surgeon. He returned me to the soccer field and I was able to resume play at a high competitive.level.

Thanks Dr. Ahmad.

My story begins on the soccer field. I had decided to try out for goalkeeper in my junior year. It was the first practice of the season, and about twenty minutes into a drill, I twisted my knee. I knew I had done something serious because I couldn’t straighten it. I learned the next day that I had torn my lateral meniscus, and that I would need surgery. Dr. Ahmad was the best choice for me because of a few reasons. First, my father knew him very well, and spoke highly of him as a person and as a doctor. Second, Dr. Ahmad was doing a meniscal repair that was a little different because it included using PRP injection with the repair. Third, I really liked him when we met and talked about my problem. He didn’t just talk to me like I was just another patient. He showed me what had happened and tried to the best of his ability to explain to me how the surgery would go. He was my choice.

My surgery went well, and I worked hard in physical therapy to reach my full potential. I returned to my basketball season in late January, and had no problems. I continued to work at strengthening, and went on to have a solid track season, coming in fourth in the county in high jump at the Bergen Meet of Champions. I am now planning to play basketball at Middlebury College next year. My knee feels great and I attribute a big part of my success to Dr. Ahmad. I would recommend him to anyone with a sports injury.

When I tore my ACL I wasn’t sure if I could return to playing my favorite sports at the same level as before. I went to see Dr. Ahmad at Columbia Orthopedics and he reassured me that after surgery and some hard work I would be able to return to playing at the same level or even better. 6 months later I was finally able to return to sports. Tearing my ACL was a horrible thing but it also made we work harder to get back into shape. With the support of Dr. Ahmad and his team I was able to make the JV Lacrosse Team where I was later named Captain. That season I scored 50 goals in 15 games and was named the MVP. I am also the only girl on a boy’s ice hockey team. I want to thank Dr. Ahmad and his entire team for all they did to make me a better athlete.

Like many young female athletes, Samantha is a force. Samantha can traverse a soccer field in record time, outmaneuvering her competition. But also like other female athletes, she is susceptible to ACL injuries.

At the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine, Christopher Ahmad, MD is conducting research to determine why the gender difference exists. He instructs his patients that one of the reasons is women tend to increase their quadriceps strength more than hamstrings – creating an imbalance which leads to undue stress on the ACL. Another reason is women tend to perform their sports in more upright positions. Samantha will change her training regimen to include strengthening of her hamstrings and acquire a more flexed position. And she will continue to run circles around the competition.

Vicki Zucker was a 13-year-old female, extremely competitive in basketball, when she came to see Dr. Ahmad. She played on multiple teams in multiple leagues, and she was diagnosed with left patella instability at the age of 9. She was having difficulty with her basketball, and daily episodes of instability. “My parents went to 7 other Orthopaedic surgeons before meeting Dr. Ahmad. They felt very confident with Dr. Ahmad’s knowledge and bedside manner. My parents knew at that time that they had the best Orthopaedic Surgeon as well as the best children’s hospital in New York, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. After my surgery, I am feeling better than ever! I have full range of motion, full strength and even better ability to run on and off the court. It took hard work to gain my strength back, but if it wasn’t for Dr. Ahmad, I would not be where I am now. I am fast, quick and have no second thoughts about my knee today, 3 ½ years after my surgery. I will be attending IMG Basketball Academics in Bradenton, Florida for my Senior Year of High School and working on my skills to hopefully receive a Basketball Scholarship for college. Dr. Ahmad did an amazing job! My advice for other patients is not to settle for the first local Orthopaedic Surgeon. You must go into New York and see Dr. Ahmad team.”

Garrett Ossolinkski
Andrew Kantzian
Colin Reilly
Deborah Swinton Pulliam
Kevin Finnegan
Troy Simpson
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