March 5th, 2020

Forty-four years ago, Sue Cichelli and her husband, Dennis, bought a patch of land in Jackson Hole, Wy. They built a small cabin and chased their dream of spending winters there to enjoy a personal passion—skiing.

Now retired, Sue and Dennis hit the slopes annually. But in the winter of 2018-19, Sue couldn’t trust her left knee. “I kept falling a lot,” she said. Then, at season’s end, she suffered a tibial plateau fracture on the same knee. “I saw an orthopaedic surgeon in Jackson Hole,” Sue Cichelli says. “He told me that if I wanted to continue being active, I’d need knee replacement surgery.”

So, after returning to her Kempton home in April, Sue began searching for the right doctor. “I looked at every local hospital,” she says. A friend of hers spoke highly of Paul Weidner, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health. “He had replaced her hip, and she knew other people who were very happy with his work,” Cichelli says.

In May, Cichelli made the 45-minute drive to Sellersville to see Dr. Weidner, who felt she would be a perfect candidate for total knee replacement using the Mako robotic arm-assisted surgery system. “He explained how they put the model of your knee into the computer, and it won’t let the surgeon cut any further than the model allows,” says Cichelli, who worked in computers for her entire career. “It made perfect sense to me.”

On September 23, 2019, Dr. Weidner performed the surgery using Mako. Later that same day, Cichelli walked on the new knee for the first time in the hospital. The next day, she completed her first round of physical therapy and returned home.

“Sue had such a positive attitude,” says physician assistant Melissa Rosenau, PA-C, with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health. Melissa saw Cichelli prior to the surgery and followed up with her afterward. “She had a good deal of arthritis in her knee before surgery, and she had such a desire to get back to the activities she loved without pain that it motivated her to get better.”

Cichelli finished outpatient physical therapy right before Thanksgiving. Shortly thereafter, she returned to Jackson Hole. On New Year’s Day 2020, she skied for the first time on the bunny slopes. By mid-February, she was skiing from 9,000 feet.

“Melissa, Dr. Weidner and the whole team at Grand View was so supportive,” she says. “They listened to me, understood my goals and helped me reach them. Thanks to them, my knee is strong now; I can count on it.”

Learn more about Mako robotic-arm assisted knee replacement surgery at Grand View Health. Attend our free information event about hip and knee pain on March 24 at 5:30 p.m.