A Double Knee Replacement Relieves Pain and Restores Mobility: Read Patricia's Story
A nyone who knows retired Hamilton Township teacher Patricia Flores, of Trenton, knows there is very little to keep her from her passions.
Whether it's speaking about bats to interested students, taking a familiar hike through the Hamilton-Trenton-Bordentown Marsh, or taking a trip to see her son in Brooklyn, there’s not much that can slow Patricia down. That is, until her osteoarthritis became too much to bear.
The pain started about 12 years ago in both knees and worsened over the years. Everyday tasks became increasingly challenging. Patricia, 78, stopped walking around the neighborhood for exercise, and began driving into New York to see her son because navigating the train station steps and platforms became too difficult. When she “felt every step” on a trip to Israel and Jordan, which included a six-mile trek, Patricia knew it was time to do something.
Patricia attended RWJ Hamilton’s Orthopedic Open House to learn more about knee replacement surgery. There she met John Schnell, MD, and decided to schedule an appointment with him to discuss her options.
Dr. Schnell determined Patricia was a good candidate for simultaneous bilateral knee replacement, a procedure where two physicians operate on both knees at the same time.
“Bilateral knee replacement has benefits for those that need it — but, in some cases, one knee replacement may be all that is needed,” explains Dr. Schnell.
“We evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis and look at how their pain impacts their quality of life. Because Patricia has osteoarthritis and has only temporarily benefited from conservative treatments such as muscle strengthening and injections for pain, bilateral knee replacement was a good option for her,” says Dr. Schnell.
And because it was all done in one surgery, Patricia’s need for anesthesia was minimized. “One surgery for both knees means one time in the hospital and one round of physical therapy. In addition, if one knee is replaced before the other, it can cause unnecessary stress on the remaining knee,” Dr. Schnell explains.
Patricia’s surgery, performed by Dr. Schnell and Thomas Capotosta, MD, included two custom-fit knees using a minimally-invasive, quad-sparing technique which allows for quick recovery because the tendon is not cut.
Patricia’s new knees were custom fit to her body, and the physicians initiated leading protocols to minimize pain. And Patricia could feel the difference the first time she stood up after surgery.
“When my physical therapists came to help me out of bed and take my first steps, I felt great. In fact, I remember wanting to walk much further than we intended that day. They had to remind me not to push too much. The great thing was, I felt like I could.”
Today Patricia has no pain and happily takes the train to visit her son — steps, train platforms and all.