Dr. Mark Yuhas and His Team Help Save the Hand of a Local Musician
Monday, November 29, 2021

Watch the Full Interview Here.

by Liz Bonis & Megan Burgasser, WKRC

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Imagine training your whole life to do something you love, only to have a medical problem threaten to take it all away.

That’s what happened to a local musician, until a talented surgeon stepped in.

Teri McKibben has the noteworthy job of organist at Crestview Presbyterian Church in West Chester.

“This particular organ has one-thousand watts of power, and it has speakers all around the room. So, she can literally surround, uplift and support the listeners,” said Rodney Barbour, the director of worship arts and music at the church.

So McKibben, of course, was concerned and upset when she began to lose almost full use of one of her hands.

“There was that momentary thought of, 'Am I ever going to play again?'” she asked.

By the time McKibben met up with Dr. Mark Yuhas, an OrthoCincy orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in complex hand surgeries, she realized her art was already suffering.

“There are certain specific movements that an organist needs to make, and I was not able to make those,” said McKibben.

So, Dr. Yuhas sent her to get an MRI.

“The MRI showed that there was some damage inside of my hand,” McKibben said.

However, it wasn’t a sudden injury. It was one that gradually set in over time, and started to change her life. It could have happened to anyone.

“Teri had changes in her wrists that, not only were some degeneration and some wear and tear over time, but also some things that were probably related to how much activity she has done with playing the organ and just day-to-day activities,” Dr. Yuhas said.

While many think the loss of a person’s hands might only happen after a serious injury, Whitney Quiambao, a certified hand therapist who is part of Dr. Yuhas’ team, said that’s not true. Recently, the OrthoCincy team has been seeing quite a few people with hand troubles from simply spending too much time on the computer during the pandemic, along with musicians and other overuse-related injuries.

“We have, we’ve seen a lot of people working from home, we have a lot of people on a keyboard a whole lot, or even just doing a lot of activities with their family kind of thing,” Quiambao said.

Hand therapy and sometimes other injectable treatments are tried in the early stages. But for McKibben, they just didn’t work.

“I was having a great deal of pain on the outer side of my wrist and hand,” said McKibben.

Instead, Dr. McKibben had to perform a delicate surgery to repair what was causing the loss of her hand. It turned out she had a severe ligament injury. Without it, she simply couldn’t hold her fingers in place.

“What we did is we cleaned up some of the ligament injury, and also some of the cartilage that she had worn down” said Dr. Yuhas.

The worn-down cartilage was causing her so much pain, McKibben could no longer play through it.

“We sort of smoothed that out, cleaned it up to prevent it from continuing to irritate her,” Dr. Yuhas said.

McKibben is not back to playing full time yet, but three months later, she’s able to at least bless her church family with her gifts again.

“The organ is an instrument that accompanies these wonderful moments in people’s lives, and Teri is a great part of that,” said Barbour.

McKibben said the restoration of her hands was so successful, she no longer fears never playing again:

“I realized, yeah, I have a good future ahead of me."

Learn more about Dr. Yuhas and all of our physicians.