TMC patient finds new freedom with 3-D Knee-replacement


“It’s so much like my natural knee that I couldn’t believe it,” said Barbara Wagner who received a custom-made knee replacement at Tucson Medical Center.

Serious knee pain is felt with every step and can significantly impact quality of life. Wagner was informed 10 years ago that she needed to have a both knees replaced.

She had the left knee replaced soon after the recommendation, but experienced complications. “It was very painful, so I decided to have cortisone injections on my right knee instead of surgery, which worked for a while.”

She received relief from cortisone therapy for several years. After moving to Arizona, the pain in her right knee was increasing. “The shots were becoming less effective. I was walking regularly with a limp and I needed to walk with a cane.” Wagner sought new options, and found much had changed in a decade.

“In the last 10 years, there have been extraordinary advancements in technology, implant materials and surgical techniques,” said Dr. Ali Dalal, an orthopaedic surgeon at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute who specializes in hip and knee replacements.

“The advancements have resulted in a better implant fit, which often means greater comfort, mobility and patient satisfaction,” said Dr. Dalal.

One such advancement involves producing a custom-made, knee replacement implant to fit the patient’s unique anatomy. “Generally, surgeons must choose an off-the-shelf implant from a limited range of sizes,” said Dr. Dalal. “With this technology, the implant is custom-made based on an advanced 3-D CT scan of the patient’s knee.”

Dr. Dalal explained the procedure and options to Wagner. “I have all the confidence in the world in Dr. Dalal and I also did my own research.”

Wagner had the required scan and the custom implant was produced and sent to TMC, where Wagner had her replacement surgery.

Recently, Wagner walked down the hall of Tucson Orthopaedic Institute with a smile and without assistance. “I can walk without pain,” she exclaimed. “It effects my entire body – I can walk without a limp and without my cane.”

“Ms. Wagner’s positive outcome is typical of what patients experience with this technology,” said Dr. Dalal. “I’m also pleased with her results and look forward to providing this option for more patients.”

What is next for Wagner? “Everything is so much easier, from walking my dog to making stained-glass crafts, my favorite hobby.” Plans she has put off for some time are now in the works. “My son and I are planning a hike – I haven’t been in more than 10 years.”

Wagner also plans on taking courses in glass fusion, pottery and woodworking. While these hobbies may not involve extreme physical activity, she said the successful surgery really made a difference. “It’s hard to describe just how debilitating bone-on-bone knee pain really is. The custom knee replacement has given me the freedom to be more comfortable in everything I do.”

See the Conformis website for more information about the custom-made total knee replacement implants.

Work colleague inspires fellow salon manager to get joint replacement

Charles and ANnieHelping our community right here in Tucson get and stay healthy and keep on dancing is what Tucson Medical Center is all about. We’re showing off some of our fabulous community members in our latest commercials and you get to find out a little more about them here on our blog. Meet TMC dancers Charles Colbath and Annie Collins.

Bavilon Salon owner Charles Colbath would wince a little seeing Salon Coordinator Annie Collins hobble about.

A former marathon runner, Collins had agonizing arthritis in her right hip. “I almost couldn’t walk. I couldn’t lift my leg to get in the car. I would be walking, and my leg would just freeze.”

She had hip replacement with orthopaedic surgeon Russell Cohen. “It was a miracle. I had surgery one morning and was home the next day by noon. I was pain free – literally, pain free.”

Colbath was struck at her recovery. He had been suffering with his own trick hip for four years. “Dr. Cohen did an evaluation and said he could do it. I trusted him. And I had the same experience Annie did. The whole process was amazing. I’ve had worse tooth extractions.”

Collins, who is an avowed pickleball addict, said dancing is her next favorite thing and she’s thrilled to be able to do it.

For Colbath, the minimally invasive procedure was a life changer. “It’s hard to believe you would go in for something that would be seen as major, but it honestly wasn’t,” he said. “The process they use now is so perfected, that I was back to my routine in three days. And I’m getting my life back now, which was key.”

After knee replacement, ‘People tell me I look different’

Mary.jpg

Helping our community right here in Tucson get and stay healthy and keep on dancing is what Tucson Medical Center is all about. We’re showing off some of our fabulous community members in our latest commercials and you get to find out a little more about them here on our blog. Meet TMC dancer, Mary Rowley.

For business owner Mary Rowley, pain was a part of everyday life.

“I had bone-on-bone arthritis. I couldn’t use my knee very much,” Rowley recalled. “It was to the point where I forgot what it was like not to have pain.”

Rowley, who had two previous unrelated surgeries at TMC with great outcomes, came back to TMC, with orthopaedic surgeon Russell Cohen.

“It was great. The experience in the hospital was wonderful – I felt like I was with friends,” she said, noting she went home the next day.

“My knee is fantastic. Before, I coudn’t run at all. Now I can run up steps. I’m walking more, I’m exercising. I can bend. People tell me I look different: that I don’t have as much pain on my face.”

Rowley has a recommendation for others considering knee replacement surgery. “Everyone said put it off as long as you can. I would say don’t. If you really need it done, and a professional tells you that you need to get it done, get it done. It’s great on the other side.”

Check out Mary getting to dance again in our latest dance video.

Ask the expert about Orthobiologics: The healing power of our own bodies

knee orthobiologicsOrthobiologics is a tongue twister, but the science behind regenerative medicine seems so simple. By taking our own healthy cells, extracting the growth factors, platelets or stem cells and then using those cells to heal our chronic pain, doctors are reducing the need for harmful therapies like steroids exponentially.

“Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can stimulate stem cells to the area and create a healing cascade. The therapy wakes up your body’s own healing properties,” said Dr. Tad DeWald, of Tucson Orthopaedic Institute and noted expert on regenerative medicine procedures.Dr. Ted DeWald

“The PRP is injected into ligaments, tendons, muscle, or joints and is a long-term solution to musculoskeletal injuries and pain, including arthritic joints.”

When you have an acute injury like tendonitis, your body creates inflammation around the area to heal it. If the injury doesn’t improve after about 12 weeks, your body stops trying to heal. At this point the condition is considered chronic. The tendon fibers aren’t viable. “It still looks like a tendon, but it doesn’t act like one. Treatments like PRP and stem cells get your body back on board and working to heal,” said Dr. DeWald.

Stem cells have several unique abilities. They can transform into other cell types, such as bone, cartilage, muscle and tendon. And they also serve an important role as medicinal signaling cells, recruiting other stem cells to the target area and triggering nearby cells to begin the repair process.

“Healing properties that come from your body have no negative effects. For any active person looking to feel better and get around better, this treatment is beneficial. And for patients looking at a total joint replacement down the road, this treatment offers the possibility of delaying or avoiding surgery,” said Dr. DeWald.

To find out more about how these innovative treatments use your body’s own cells to heal, attend a free event at The Core at La Encantada, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 5:30 p.m. Register today!

Osteoporosis: “The most important factor is prevention”

May is Women’s Health Month, a great time to celebrate and promote stronger health and a perfect time to discuss the latest information about preventing and treating health challenges like osteoporosis.

More than 44 million American women experience the debilitating effects of the bone disease, and many women fear aching joints and brittle bones are an inevitable part of aging. It is important to know the risks, and engage opportunities to maintain optimum bone-health.

Dr. Lawrence R. Housman is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in musculoskeletal disease at Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He sat down with us to discuss the best ways to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

OsteoporosisWhy are women at greater risk for osteoporosis?  

Women start with a lower bone density than men. They also lose bone mass more quickly as they age. Between ages 20-80, women will lose about 1/3 of her bone density compared to men who lose only 1/4 of their bone density in that time frame. Estrogen levels also affect bone density, and women lose bone mass more quickly in the years immediately following menopause than at any other time of their lives.

What can accentuate this risk?

Alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor, however more than four drinks per day results in a twice the risk of hip fracture. Steroids can also increase this risk. Long term use of steroids will double the risk of fracture in women.

It should be noted that proton pump inhibitors (e.g. Nexium/Protonix used for stomach disorders such as acid reflux) decrease the absorption of calcium from the stomach.

While increasing fiber, phylates (beans, wheat bran), oxalates (spinach, beet greens, rhubarb) and phosphorus (colas) can provide other health benefits they can also interfere with calcium metabolism.

What are the most effective means of preventing osteoporosis?

Regular exercise is one of the most effective means of preventing osteoporosis. Thirty minutes per day – walking is excellent, and Tai Chi reportedly decreases falls by 47 percent and hip fracture by 25 percent.

Nutrition is another import part of maintaining healthy bones. Fruits and vegetables are important. Women ages 19-50 should take in 1000 mg of calcium daily and women older than 50 should get 1200 mg per day.

Vitamin D is another vital nutrient the body needs to prevent osteoporosis. An individual can get their vitamin D through measured exposure to sunlight or through supplements. A diet with dairy, protein or calcium fortified foods (e.g. orange juice), fish (salmon/sardines) and yogurt (6 ounces has 300 mg of calcium) will go a long way in getting vitamin d to the bones.

What are the warning signs of the disease – and when is it time to see a doctor?

There are usually no warning signs before a fracture occurs; therefore, the most important factor is prevention.

A primary care provider (PCP) is the best person to monitor bone health. Most physicians recommend a DEXA (bone density test) after the age of 50.

The DEXA scan is the bone density test done most frequently and is predictive of fracture risk. The scan will also show whether you have normal bone density, osteopenia (bone is becoming weaker) or osteoporosis (bone is at high risk for fracture).

If a fracture occurs, then an orthopaedist would enter the picture to advise on treatment concerning the spine or extremity fracture.

If diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis – what’s next?

With treatment patients can live normal, active and happy lives.

There are many types of medications that are now available – which work to reverse and then rebuild the bone loss. With treatment, the risk of a vertebral fracture drops from between 30-70 percent and the risk of a hip fracture drops by up to 40 percent.

Housman OsteoporosisDr. Housman is an orthopaedic surgeon who practices at the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute. He earned a medical degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the Montreal General Hospital and McGill University. Dr. Housman is fellowship trained in several orthopaedic pursuits and is a past chief of staff at Tucson Medical Center. He has also served as president of the Western Orthopaedic Association and Arizona Orthopaedic Society.

 

 


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