In the U.S., an estimated twenty percent of baby boomers will develop some form of osteoarthritis. When it develops on the knee as we age, the cartilage and menisci become stiffer and less flexible and becomes prone to even the slightest injury.
Last spring, sixty-six-year-old Valerie Ward of Redding went on a regular three-mile walk with a friend when suddenly something happened within her right knee and she was unable to continue. A highly-motived media sales account executive for Cablevision, Ward rested her knee for a few days, however, the swelling and stiffness made it painful to walk or sleep comfortably so she made an appointment with an orthopedic specialist.
After an evaluation and X-ray, Ward was informed that she was years away from needing total knee replacement surgery and that her symptoms are generally treated with non-invasive medical treatments before surgical intervention becomes a reality. "We decided to try the cortisone shot as a first course of treatment hoping it would provide pain relief, but it didn't work," said Ward.
Ward is an active Bikram yoga enthusiast, so she continued yoga classes, tried massage therapy and other integrative medicine techniques hoping to find relief from the pain, stiffness and swelling, "but nothing completely relieved my knee pain," noted Ward.
"I put off making another appointment with an orthopedic physician for as long as possible because I feared receiving a diagnosis that I would need total knee replacement surgery," said Ward. "That would keep me out of work for some time and my career is based upon commission sales"
However, after six months "It was getting harder and harder for me to walk and get in and out of my car," said Ward. After another appointment with an orthopedic specialist, and an MRI, she learned her right knee was extremely damaged with an advanced progressive meniscus tear in two directions and was certainly a candidate for total knee replacement surgery.
After researching and obtaining word-of-mouth referrals from friends, colleagues and clients who had experienced knee issues themselves, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta's name came up on several occasions. Her mind made up, Ward called Dr. Gupta's office and took the first available appointment.
"Upon meeting Dr. Gupta, I felt very much at ease," said Ward. "I left reassured because he was 95 percent confident that I would be eligible for a minimally-invasive robot-assisted MAKOplasty partial knee replacement procedure instead of total knee replacement surgery."
"Because Valerie still had good cartilage behind the knee cap and the outer chamber of her right knee, the robotic assisted MAKOplasty partial knee replacement procedure would help preserve much of her natural knee," said Dr. Gupta. "As we discussed, our goal was to provide pain relief and improve function with a faster recovery period that would permit a more rapid return to work for Valerie."
On surgery day this past February, Ward was relieved to learn she was able to have the MAKOplasty partial knee replacement procedure. "I'll never forget waking up in the recovery room and hearing Dr. Gupta say with a smile, 'it's a partial.' "Ward was walking within a few hours of the surgery and home within 24 hours of the procedure."
After completing in-home and outpatient rehabilitation Ward is active once again and has no regrets. "I have felt great ever since. I was back at work three weeks after my procedure and I've added ballroom dancing to my list of activities," said Ward.
To learn more about the exceptional care you can expect to receive from the Center for Advanced Orthopedic and Spine Care, which has been accredited by the Joint Commission Disease Specific Certification in hip, knee and spine surgery for meeting high standards in quality care, please call 1-800-516-4743.
About Sanjay Gupta, M.D.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is Medical Director of the Joint Replacement Programs at Danbury Hospital and a practicing physician at Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and completed a two year fellowship in adult hip and knee reconstruction at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Lenox Hill Hospital.
About Robotic Assisted Joint Replacement Surgery
Danbury Hospital is the first hospital in the state to offer MAKOplasty, the latest innovative technology in robotic joint replacement surgery. MAKOplasty is a new, minimally invasive surgical treatment option for patients suffering from early-to mid-stage osteoarthris of the hip and knee. MAKOplasty is performed by certified orthopedic surgeons using RIO a highly advanced, surgeon controlled robotic arm system where the surgeon sees a virtual visualization of the patient's knee/hip based on the patient's CT scan. Makoplasty also preserves healthy bone, surrounding tissue and ligaments thus delivering better results and minimizing recovery time.
About Western Connecticut Health NetworkWestern Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. With this recent affiliation, the organization is now anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the three hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes numerous medical practices and sub-specialties across the region, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates. For more information, visit TheNewWCHN.org. Share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital; Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital and/or Facebook.com/NorwalkHospital.