Fear of a painful recovery, endless physical therapy and the general inconveniences of a knee replacement procedure are enough to make anyone hesitate. Mike Ahearn, of Leesburg, knew all too well these fears after hearing stories from his family and friends whose experiences were less-than-desirable. However, after 33 years of wear and tear from serving on the Chicago Fire Department, Ahearn’s severe knee pain sent him searching for relief. His journey began after Mike’s wife, Dianne read about an educational seminar hosted by orthopedic surgeon Donald Perry, MD. After scheduling an appointment and performing a formal evaluation, Dr. Perry suggested full knee replacements on both knees. “A partial knee replacement sounds like a less complicated surgery, but it is technically more difficult,” Dr. Perry says. “Rather than trying to remove certain areas of the knee in a partial procedure, the entire knee is replaced.”
A custom knee joint was constructed before undergoing the first surgery at Florida Hospital Waterman Joint Replacement Center. “We use an MRI in order to get the exact measurements needed to create a custom built implant which identically matches the anatomy of the patient’s knee,” Dr. Perry says.
After a date was scheduled for the surgery, the couple attended a Pre-Surgery Joint Replacement Education Class. This class is designed to inform knee replacement recipients of what to expect before, during and after surgery, as well as instruct the patient about pain management and other important topics.
After a brief stay in the hospital, which included inpatient physical therapy, Ahearn continued his recovery with in-home physical therapy sessions. “I was up and walking before I left the hospital and with minimal pain, just stiffness,” he says. He also had significantly less concerns heading into the second surgery. “We try to make the experience as painless as possible with a highly controlled pain regiment plan that begins prior to the surgery and continues throughout and after the surgery,” Dr. Perry says. “A carefully calculated combination of anti-inflammatory and pain medications, a judicious use of narcotics, and muscle sparing techniques used during surgery, come together to achieve a nearly painless experience.”
Ahearn wants others to understand that they shouldn’t let the fear of a painful surgery stand in the way of achieving long-term relief. “Find a doctor that you are comfortable with. I can now do whatever I want to do. Would I want to go ice skating? Probably not,” he chuckles. “But I can run, I can jog, I can ride a bike. It just takes a little getting used to when you get the new knee.”
Expert advice could be the first step to a pain-free life. Sign up for a seminar today, visit FHWatermanOrtho.com.