After Decades of Pain, Knee Replacement Offers Pain-Free Life

April 26, 2013

As the Director of Orthopaedic Services for Providence Hospital Northeast, Bruce Giacobbi knows all too well what joint replacement patients go through—before, during and after their procedures. But in January 2010, Bruce found himself on the opposite side of the knife when Dr. Brad Presnal, orthopaedic surgeon with Moore Clinic, performed a total knee replacement on Bruce’s left knee.

At the time of the procedure, Bruce was a young 57 who enjoyed a very active lifestyle including his hobbies of hunting and golf, among other things. Although arthritis is the most common culprit for chronic knee pain and disability, it was a motorcycle accident and subsequent reconstructive surgery in 1972 that created the original damage to Bruce’s knee. His accident, coupled with 20 years of being an electrician going up and down ladders is ultimately what Bruce says really did him in. Bruce explains, It just gets to where your knee hurts so bad that you can’t enjoy doing anything. I play golf, and it got to where I just stopped playing.

Fortunately, Bruce was in exceptional hands. Dr. Presnal, who sub-specializes in total knee and total hip replacements, performed 272 total knee replacements at Providence Hospital Northeast in 2012, which is an average of 23 per month.

A typical total knee replacement patient will be in the hospital for two to three days after surgery, and most patients begin exercising their knee the day after surgery. In addition, most patients undergo approximately six to eight weeks of physical therapy, but resume normal activity after only a month depending on their condition going into surgery. Four weeks after surgery, I was up a tree hunting, explains Bruce.

Since Bruce’s surgery three years ago, Providence Hospital Northeast has undergone extensive renovations—enhancing both the structure of the hospital and the model in which orthopaedics patients receive care. The third floor of the hospital serves as a dedicated unit for orthopaedics patients, customized to meet their every need. And in addition to the physicians, many of the nursing staff, physical therapists and other health care professionals have specialized training in orthopaedic care.

One of these dedicated staff people is Amy Cassibry, Joint Center Coordinator, who educates the patients prior to surgery and prepares them for the process. It is a sincere pleasure to see how patients come to me for our total joint education program in chronic pain and discomfort, and when they leave us they already feel better and have a more positive outlook on what they are capable of doing and their quality of life in general.    

In addition to taking away personal satisfaction from the experience, Bruce is also able to sympathize with the patients that he and his orthopaedics staff care for every single day. I can relate to the pain that the patients experienced leading up to the surgery, and I also understand the post-surgical discomfort. But now I can tell them based on firsthand experience that when that short-lived pain goes away it’s gone forever.

Having the surgery definitely changed Bruce’s outlook I’m back to playing 18 holes with no problems. I do everything I want to do with zero pain. My knee is my knee now.

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