“My life turned around dramatically after total knee replacement surgery on both knees,” explains Gustavo Ayala, MD, who had the procedure done on both knees at the same time.
“I used to be very active,” he says. “I enjoyed bike rides and other activities with my family until my knee pain became too severe.”
As director of the Urologic Pathology Division at UTHealth, Dr. Ayala is an internationally recognized urologic pathologist. A congenital problem caused his knees to become painfully swollen.
“My job requires me to sit for long periods, looking through a microscope to analyze samples for diagnostic purposes,” he explains. It became so painful for his knees to touch his desk, he had to cut a hole through the desk to accommodate his swollen knees.
Over a six-month period, Dr. Ayala’s condition worsened from experiencing moderate pain to battling heavy pain. “It was time to find a solution,” he says, “and I made an appointment with Dr. Mathis, a renowned specialist in this field.”
Kenneth B. Mathis, MD, an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann who specializes in total joint reconstruction, recommends that when a person’s quality of life is impacted by a painful knee or hip joint it is time to see a specialist. That is exactly what Dr. Ayala did.
Dr. Mathis explains that the first step is non-operative treatments to improve a patient’s symptoms. “If symptoms persist, then we discuss operative interventions, such as total joint replacement.”
An MRI revealed extensive damage to both of Dr. Ayala’s knees. “My knees had been rubbing the wrong way for several years, and Dr. Mathis and I decided the best option was to have total knee replacement on both knees at the same time.”
Dr. Ayala describes his experience at Memorial Hermann Orthopedic & Spine Hospital (MHOSH) in one word: fantastic. “I was doing exercises and walking six hours after surgery and the next day I was climbing stairs,” he recalls. “I did not expect to walk so soon and my progress was exciting and rewarding.”
In crediting the expertise of the MHOSH staff, Dr. Ayala says, “Dr. Mathis and his team are exceptional in taking care of orthopedic diseases and knee and hip replacements.
“I also learned firsthand about the value of a support system for a successful recovery and my family supported me throughout the process.”
Dr. Mathis is proud that MHOSH is one of a handful of hospitals nationwide that has achieved The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Advanced Certification for Total Hip and Knee Replacement, but he adds that the best attribute about MHOSH is its people. “MHOSH attracts some of the best nurses and surgeons in this region who are committed to provide the best patient experience and outcomes.”
“I was away from work for six weeks because my body needed to recover,” says Dr. Ayala, “and now I sit at my desk without any pain. I understand why I have not met one person who regretted having this surgery.”
“People ask me, ‘Should I wait to have this surgery?’ and I emphatically tell them no. Before I had my knee replacement surgery, the pain forced me to miss fun times with family and friends, and I learned that we can’t turn back the clock on those fun times. That moment is gone forever and is not coming back.”
That was the motivator for Dr. Ayala. “Now I can enjoy more family fun, and I am too young to give up those wonderful memories.”