Medicine: Gamble Against Uncertain Odds

In a bold bid to save a leg, surgeons transplant a knee

For Susan Lazarchick, the decision to undergo an experimental knee transplant was frighteningly simple. A benign tumor the size of a grapefruit was rapidly consuming her right knee and shinbone. Doctors had offered her two other options: amputation, or a bone fusion, which would render her stiff-legged for the rest of her life. She chose the rarely performed transplant. Last week Orthopedic Surgeon Richard Schmidt at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia announced that he had transplanted an entire knee -- bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and all -- from an accident victim into the leg of the young...