Watching Pat Fox stride down the hall after joint-replacement surgery, it’s hard to believe she could barely hobble across a room a month earlier. “Surgery has changed my life,” said Pat, 53, of Green Lane. “I feel like a new person.” Fox’s procedure at Grand View involved minimally invasive, computer-assisted technology, which is among the most cutting-edge procedures available anywhere.
Prior to surgery, Pat could actually feel the bones of her knees scraping against one another as she walked, causing excruciating pain. Even standing made her legs ache. She awoke with pain six or seven times each night. Due to such joint difficulties, she had to give up her beloved vocation as a cake decorator.
“The day I had the surgery, I got up on my feet,” she said. “I expected to have much more pain, but it wasn’t bad. Even my scar healed fast. I knew then that this procedure would change my life. It has been a wonderful experience. I would recommend it to anyone.”
Paul Weidner, MD, her orthopaedic surgeon, explained that the computer enables surgeons to more accurately align implants during knee-replacement procedures. In Pat’s case, the technology provided him with a 3D view of her knee joint. Using integrated software, hardware and instruments, Dr. Weidner could view each step of the surgical procedure as it occurred in 3D images that showed Pat’s specific anatomy.
Pat’s knee problems began when she was 20 years old and eight months pregnant. She leaned down to pick something up, and her knee popped and went numb, causing her to fall. Later, she underwent surgery to remove the damaged cartilage, but her joint continued to plague her. She lived with the pain for years until she finally had enough.
She visited Upper Bucks Orthopaedic Associates, where she saw Dr. Weidner. He began various treatments, including shots to rebuild the cartilage. It soon became apparent that surgery would be necessary to repair the injured joint. “Pat has been an ideal patient,” Dr. Weidner said. “She has followed my instructions to the letter before and after the surgery.”
In addition, Pat received physical and occupational therapy at Grand View. “Therapy can be challenging and sometimes even painful. Patients like Pat who finish the complete course of therapy, including exercising at home, have the best long-term results,” said Keith Hammerschmidt, DPT, Pat’s physical therapist.
With surgery and therapy behind her, Pat is now enjoying all of the things she couldn’t do before, like taking her grandchildren to the zoo and museums. “I can’t wait to walk through the King Tut exhibit at the Franklin Institute,” she said. “When we saw the Titanic exhibit, I was in a wheelchair.”
She’s also planning a trip to St. Augustine, Florida, to visit her brother. She looks forward to strolling along and exploring quaint shops and restaurants. Most of all, however, she just appreciates how much the quality of each day has improved. “Every day I wake up, I drink my coffee and go for a walk,” Pat said. “I feel great. It’s amazing.”