Are You a Good Candidate for Knee Replacement Surgery?
Adobe Stock Photo.
Michael Holland and James McGlynn, M.D. met when they played on the same high school and college soccer teams. After college, they took separate, yet related, paths. Holland coached and refereed soccer and lacrosse, worked for 32 years as an Amtrak track inspector, and is currently employed as site manager for an engineering firm. Dr. McGlynn became an orthopaedic surgeon, specializing in sports medicine, and returned to his hometown in the 1990’s.
They reconnected when Holland, who had been diagnosed in 1998 with severe arthritis in both knees, made an appointment to consult with Dr. McGlynn — a member of the Premier/Crozer-Keystone Orthopaedics Partnership. For a few years, Dr. McGlynn “nursed him along,” using lubricating injections and intermediate surgical scoping procedures to improve Holland’s knee function and comfort. But, by early 2015, the pain was constant. Holland, who walked outside on concrete most of every day for work and was still a referee, was also having trouble enjoying normal daily activities. “My knees took a lot of wear and tear,” he says, “but by the time I was ready for surgery, I was limping and the pain would not go away. I was 63 when I had my first knee done.”
You may be a good candidate for a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), commonly known as knee replacement, at Premier and Crozer-Keystone if:
1) Your Overall Quality of Life Is Declining
“It’s time to do the surgery when the pain starts to affect your quality of life,” says Dr. McGlynn. “I spend as much time as people need to understand what they’re getting into, and to make sure they have reasonable expectations about afterwards. Most people have minor complaints after the surgery—residual or recurrent stiffness and swelling, difficulty kneeling on the knee, some skin numbness—so it’s important to realize this when you need the surgery,” he adds.
Holland waited several years before he had the surgery, but now he says, “I tell people, ‘don’t put it off.’ When I talk to someone who is afraid, in constant pain, and can’t sleep because they can’t find a comfortable position, I say, ‘get to someone you trust and get it done.’ Nobody should be living with that kind of pain.”
2) You Are Still Active and Fairly Fit
People who decide to do the surgery want to stay active—and most are able to resume normal activities without pain, and become more active than before surgery.
Rehabilitation is faster when you are able to do physical therapy. Preparation before surgery, such as stopping smoking, strengthening quadriceps muscles, gaining flexibility or losing some weight, can reduce recovery time. However, Dr. McGlynn adds, “the younger and heavier you are, the more likely it is that a total knee arthroplasty will wear out.”
Prior to his first knee surgery, Holland lost about 25 pounds and put himself on a regimented exercise program of swimming and squatting to strengthen his quads. He was able to go up and down steps with little or no problem within a week after surgery.
3) You Want Expert, Individualized Care
“Dr. McGlynn was methodical about plusses and negatives,” says Holland. “He told me, ‘You’ll know when you’re ready,’ and he was right. By the summer of 2015, when the pain was constant, I was eating Advil like they were Chiclets.”
Dr. McGlynn suggested Holland plan the surgery to recover during the wintertime, so he could be back walking concrete by April. He had his first knee done in December 2015 and the second in December 2016.
“I knew I could call anytime if I had a question or an issue, and I would be able to speak with someone. Dr. McGlynn even called me on a Sunday, the day after I was released from the hospital, to see how I was doing,” says Holland. “The key is trust. I recommend him to lots of people now, and the staff is fabulous too. There’s more of a personal touch with this group, compared to larger practices that feel more like an assembly line.”
4) You Want to Get Back to Normal Activity ASAP
People think a total knee arthroplasty means the entire knee has been replaced. But it’s really re-surfacing of the joint while maintaining most of the ligaments and all of your own tendons, explains Dr. McGlynn.
Prior to surgery, the anesthesiologist uses a variety of techniques to minimize addictive medications and pre-load the body with pain medications and anesthetics, including regional anesthesia and nerve blocks. A team member will get you out of bed the first day, and a physical therapist will help you walk and begin early strength-building exercises. “The most important aspect of rehabilitation and recovery is mindset,” says Dr. McGlynn. “Patients need to regain motion immediately to prevent stiffness, and sometimes that requires working through more pain than they expected. That is best accomplished with aggressive range-of-motion exercises right out of the gate.”
Most patients are able to go home one or two days after the procedure. “Skilled nursing care is available for people who live alone, or are otherwise unable to take care of themselves,” says Dr. McGlynn. “But the largest percentage of people go home after the surgery and get better successfully.”
There are several advantages to recovery at home. Patients are away from the risks of bacterial infections in a hospital setting, eat their own food and sleep in their own bed, and have more control over pain management. Activity and low-dose aspirin help prevent blood clots, so it is important for patients increase their activity right away.
Recommended exercises to decrease swelling and increase circulation will aid in your recovery. The Premier/Crozer-Keystone Orthopaedic Partnership offers 15 locations throughout Chester and Delaware counties that offer outpatient therapies for range-of-motion, strength and return-to-functional-movement.
Ready to find out more? Call 1-855-255-6468 or visit www.PCfeelthelove.org today to schedule an appointment.
Premier Orthopaedics + Crozer-Keystone Health System
“Ditch the pain. Feel the love.”
The specialists of the Premier/Crozer-Keystone Orthopaedics Partnership do more joint replacement surgeries in Delaware County than anyone else. We have the training, experience, facilities and tools to provide expert surgical interventions and a safe, pain-free outcome. The orthopaedic specialists at Premier and Crozer offer a full-range of services related to bone, muscle and joint health. Our team of physicians and staff will work with you one-on-one to explain risks, benefits, procedures and aftercare for your specific condition. Call 1-855-255-6468 or visit www.PCfeelthelove.org now to get started.
*What’s this? This content is made possible by our partner. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of the Main Line Today editorial staff.