Ron’s Story: Simultaneous Bilateral Knee Replacement at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital
When 73-year-old Ron Adams arrived for his two-week checkup after undergoing bilateral (double) knee replacement surgery, his orthopedic surgeon, Houston Braly, MD, affiliated with Memorial Hermann Joint Center, made Adams stop — so he could capture Adams on video. Dr. Braly was so impressed with how well his patient was walking, so soon after surgery.
“I am completely astounded by what I can do.”
Less than three weeks before, Adams could barely walk to his mailbox. His knees were in such bad shape, he couldn’t go to the grocery store, much less keep up with his five grandsons.
“My knees were shot. Now, I am absolutely astounded by what I can do. A month after my surgery, I was mowing my own grass. Now, I am back to grocery shopping and working out, and with no pain whatsoever,” says Adams.
Adams has always been active. He played collegiate baseball, was a runner and cyclist, and has consistently worked out for over 40 years. But he also has a history of knee problems, dating back to the 1950’s. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery 20 years ago.
Both Knees Replaced on the Same Day
In his initial consultation with Dr. Braly, Adams told the surgeon he wanted to have both knees replaced at the same time. Dr. Braly explained that doing both knees at the same time could carry additional risk of blood loss or blood clots. But 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 twelve weeks apart, it is becoming increasingly common to do both knees at once. In fact, 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,” says Dr. Braly.
Dr. Braly performed the double knee replacement on February 26, 2019, at Memorial Hermann Joint Center at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. Adams was up and walking just hours after the surgery. 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,” says Adams, “and I never used it again. 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.’”
Multimodal Pain Management
Dr. Braly attributes patients’ 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 – 48 hours after surgery, so they can be up and moving just hours after surgery. And it also reduces the need for pain medications after surgery,” says Dr. Braly.
“A great experience”
Adams says his experience at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital was seamless, in large part due to the support of the Joint Center’s Nurse Navigator, Amy Funke, RN. “Amy really helped me to mentally prepare for my surgery. She walked me through everything beforehand – the procedure, pain management, post-op therapy. She was very knowledgeable, very enthusiastic. It was a great experience,” says Adams.
Recently retired, Adams is back to doing the things he loves. “I am back to working out four times a week. And every day it gets better. I just cannot say enough about Dr. Braly,” says Adams. “I would recommend him to anyone.”