When Ron Adams, 73, arrived for his two-week checkup after undergoing bilateral (double) knee replacement surgery, even his orthopedic surgeon was impressed with how well Adams was walking.
Less than three weeks earlier, Adams could barely walk to his mailbox. His knees were in such bad shape, he couldn’t go grocery shopping, much less keep up with his five grandsons.
“My knees were shot,” Adams said. “Now, I am absolutely astounded by what I can do. A month after my surgery, I was mowing my own grass. I am back to grocery shopping and working out, and with no pain whatsoever.”
Adams has always been active. He played collegiate baseball, was a runner and cyclist, and has consistently worked out for more than 40 years. But he also has a history of knee problems, dating back to the 1950s. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery 20 years ago.
Adams told Houston Braly, MD, an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Joint Center, he wanted both knees replaced at the same time. Dr. Braly, who is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth explained that replacing both knees at the same time could carry additional risk of blood loss or blood clots. Adams persisted. After examining Adams and reviewing his X-rays, Dr. Braly agreed to perform the bilateral knee replacement.
“While the norm used to be to stage knee replacements 12 weeks apart, it is becoming increasingly common to do both knees at once,” said Dr. Braly. “Recent studies show that bilateral knee replacement patients can recover more quickly. While it’s not for everyone, Ron was a good candidate. He had significant deformity in both knees, but he was healthy and fit.”
Adams was up and walking just hours after the surgery at Memorial Hermann Joint Center at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. He spent one night in the hospital and began outpatient physical therapy the next day.
“I used my walker to get into my truck to go to my first physical therapy appointment and I never used it again,” Adams said, “When I walked into physical therapy that day, the therapists asked when I had had my surgery. I told them Tuesday, and they shook their heads and said, ‘This past Tuesday? You are way ahead of schedule.’”
Dr. Braly attributes faster recoveries to advancements in anesthesia and pain management.
“We employ multimodal pain management that includes injections during the surgery that significantly reduce the patient’s pain levels for the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, so they can be up and moving just hours after surgery,” said Dr. Braly, who also performs surgeries at Memorial Hermann Orthopedic and Spine Hospital. “It also reduces the need for pain medications after surgery.”
Recently retired, Adams is back to doing the activities he loves.
“I am back to working out four times a week,” Adams said. “Every day it gets better. I just cannot say enough about Dr. Braly. I would recommend him to anyone.”
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