Total joint replacement procedures provide life-changing relief for local patients
Standing in the kitchen to cook dinner or wash dishes shouldn't be a painful experience. But for Theresa Delp, chronic knee pain forced her to sit on a stool while doing chores in the kitchen. The pain from both her knees was something she endured for more than 12 years.
"I was able to barely function," Delp said. "If I had to walk someplace, it was excruciating even with a walker, but I learned to live with the pain."
Delp said she approached a physician in Omaha more than a decade ago, whotold her joint replacement surgery wasn't an option unless she lost a considerable amount of weight. "When you're overweight and in so much pain, it's hard to lose pounds because you can't exercise," she said.
She reached a turning point on September 8, 2020, after suffering an eye stroke that left her legally blind and put her on short-term disability. She decided there was no better time to fix her knees.
She asked her primary care physician for a referral, and he led her to Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic, where she foundDr. Kaare Kolstad, an orthopedic surgeon at the clinic. "He took one look at me and said, 'You have the worst set of knees I've seen in 25 years of doing this, but I can fix this for you,'" said Delp.
Dr. Kolstad performed total knee replacement surgery on her left knee on December 3, 2020. Less than three months later, on February 25, he replaced her right knee. "For me, it has been such a life-changing experience," Delp said. "People who met me a year ago wouldn't recognize me today."
Delp started rehabilitation at Rehabilitative Services at the Columbus Wellness Center following her surgeries. Since then, she has regained independence and improved her range of motion without pain."My goal was to be able to go bike riding and to swim with my grandchildren this summer," she said. "I can ride a bike in water with full range of motion. I am going to get a tricycle so I can ride all over town!"
She also has found success with dieting and lost 85 pounds.
Success stories like Delp's are common at Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic. Joint replacement procedures have helped countless patients improve their quality of life and live with less pain.
Robert Haupt also saw great success after undergoing hip replacement surgery. He had struggled with debilitating hip pain for more than a year andwas bound to a scooter, unable to walk, before visiting with Dr. Shawn Brandenburg, another surgeon at Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic.
"My hips just wore out," Haupt said. "By the time I saw Dr. Brandenburg, it was bone on bone rubbing together."
Dr. Brandenburg replaced Haupt's left hip on July 9, 2020. Less than two months after that, he replaced the right hip. "He was a savior," Haupt said. "By the time he was done with me, I was in great shape. I feel 1000% better."
Haupt was especially impressed with the Surge program offered through Columbus Community Hospital. The program's goal is to provide quality outcomes for people who elect to undergo hip, knee or shoulder replacement surgery.
The program starts with education before surgery. Each potential patient chooses a coach — usually a family member or loved one — who will be an active participant in their care before, during and after discharge from the hospital.
The patient and coach are required to attend a class three to four weeks before the surgery. During the class, they meet the Surge team and learn about the procedure, what to expect in the hospital and how to care for the patient after discharge.
"They were very good at explaining it all to me," said Haupt. "It's very well done and very informative."
Is joint replacement right for you?
If you're fed up with a bum knee or hip, you may want to consider joint replacement. It's a common treatment option for the baby boomer crowd and younger adults with rheumatoid arthritis conditions.
Determining your options
Joint replacement surgery can offer pain relief, better mobility and improved quality of life —for the right candidate. If you've experienced one or more of the following symptoms, you may benefit from joint replacement:
- Frequent or intense joint pain.
- Trouble walking, sitting down or standing up.
- Joint stiffness or swelling.
Joint discomfort can put a damper on your day-to-day activities. Basic movements, such as walking up a flight of stairs, may become obstacles for a person with joint pain.
If your pain or inflammation hasn't responded to traditional treatments — such as anti-inflammatory medication — and affects your lifestyle, your physician may recommend joint replacement surgery.
He or she will study your health history and perform a thorough exam of the affected hip or knee before referring you to a surgeon.
What can I expect?
Joint replacement surgery involves removing an arthritic or injured joint and replacing it with a new one. The implant, also called a prosthesis, typically is made of metal or plastic and is molded to form a new hip or knee joint.
In some cases, the surgeon cements the joint to the bone to keep it attached. Doctors often use this procedure for older individuals whose bones may be frail.
If you're considering hip replacement surgery, you can expect the procedure to last between two and three hours. This surgery involves a minimally invasive approach through a 4- to 6-inch incision. Knee replacement surgery typically involves a 6- to 7-inch incision.
The Mako robot, a state-of-the-art piece of technology at Columbus Community Hospital, has provided surgeons an excellent tool to allow for accurate placement and alignment of hip and knee implants. When using Mako, surgeons can preserve healthy bone and soft tissue, resulting in less postoperative pain, quicker recovery and shorter hospital stay than manual techniques.
A Joint Effort
After surgery, a patient may or may not participate in rehabilitation, depending on the individual situation. During rehabilitation, a physical therapist teaches the patient exercises designed to strengthen the muscles in the hip or knee.
Occupational therapists also are available to help patients learn how they can perform daily living activities after surgery and obtain the right equipment to keep them safe at home.
Once they have recovered, most patients notice an improvement in mobility and experience less joint pain. To determine whether joint replacement surgery is right for you and discuss potential risks, contact your physician.
For more information on the orthopedic services provided by Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic, please call 402-562-4700.