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Sharp Health News

‘Like being reborn with a brand-new knee’ (video)

Dec. 9, 2015

When you think of the typical knee replacement patient, you probably aren’t thinking about someone like Felicia. A musician in her early 40s, Felicia’s lifelong knee pain left her unable to do many things she wanted to do in life.

“Takes the breath out of you” and “painful,” is how she describes the pain in her right knee.

Diagnosed with advanced arthritis, with the knees of someone far older, Felicia was a candidate for total knee replacement. Using advanced technology, the expert caregivers at Sharp Coronado Hospital replaced her damaged knee with a prosthesis that bonds to the bone itself, reducing the risk of post-operative complications and failure.

Dr. Richard Coutts, the orthopedic medical director for Sharp Coronado Hospital, talks about Felicia’s success and shares tips for those considering knee replacement surgery.

Who is a candidate for total knee replacement?
Typically, it’s a person who’s older — over age 50 — who has osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis of the knee includes anything that attacks the cartilage that caps the end of the bone where the two leg bones come together to form a joint. When the cartilage wears away, you end up having bone on bone contact, which is painful. Total knee replacement replaces the missing cartilage with a metal and plastic articulation that will restore the pain-free motion of the joint.

In Felicia’s story, we saw her go from constant pain to riding a bike with ease. Is this kind of transformation common?
Absolutely. It is the desired end-point, although a certain percentage of this patient population continues to experience discomfort in their knees for a longer time than you would expect. In most instances, that goes away too.

What’s different about total knee replacement at Sharp Coronado?
Our Sharp Coronado caregivers are very experienced because joint replacement is primarily what they do. High volume results in greater expertise. Our anesthesiologists are geared toward dealing with knee and hip patients, and are excellent at providing good post-operative pain relief.

Sharp Coronado was the first hospital in California, and one of the first five hospitals nationwide, to be recognized as a Designated Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital. Our staff is dedicated to providing patients with an extraordinary experience, including holistic healing treatments such as massage and acupuncture at the bedside.

What advice would you give someone with knee pain who is considering this procedure?
Joint replacement — whether it’s the hip or knee, or even smaller joints like the ankle or shoulder — has been one of the most beneficial advances in medicine over the last 40 years. It has allowed people to remain functionally active in the community and has a life-prolonging benefit. Motion is the key to life. You have to keep moving. If you become a couch potato, your body will deteriorate.

If you’re experiencing pain, there are treatments out there that can get you back to doing the things you enjoy in life.

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