Back in the game(s)

One patient’s experience with outpatient knee replacement surgery

Troy Graer was tired of the pain. “Every day was a bad knee day,” he says. “I’d been having knee pain for the last four or five years. But the last year was the worst.”

His x-rays showed that both knees were bone-on-bone. Not surprisingly, cortisone shots didn’t do much to lessen the pain.

“The pain was pretty much constant,” Troy explains. “Also, my meniscus would get caught up every so often — the pain would drop me. And it’s no fun living off ibuprofen.”

As a busy dad, sitting on the sidelines of life wasn’t an option. “I coach all my kids’ sports. I was 49 at the time — now 50 — and I still want to live an active life,” Troy explains.

Taking an outpatient approach

After consulting with Dr. Fish, Troy decided to have both knees replaced. And because he’s younger and healthy, Dr. Fish explained that he was a candidate for outpatient knee replacement surgery.

Outpatient knee surgery is usually done in a surgery center. Patients get to go home the day of the surgery — usually without any time at all in the hospital.

In addition to letting patients sleep in their own beds from day one, outpatient knee surgery can reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs — sometimes by a lot. In fact, people on high-deductible insurance plans could save thousands of dollars in hospital costs.

“Dr. Fish explained it and made me feel comfortable with it,” Troy says. “I felt like it was time to go ahead, and I’m glad I did.”

Troy’s experience

Troy had his knee replacement surgeries two weeks apart. He was happy to not have to spend time in the hospital with either surgery. And he appreciated Capital Ortho’s physical therapy staff.

“Andy in physical therapy was great. I kind of looked forward to seeing him,” Troy jokes. “They had me up and walking that first day. The physical therapy was really key to my recovery.”

Today, Troy is back to his active life — coaching, traveling, fly fishing and more. “Not having the pain is wonderful. I occasionally have some soreness, but not pain. It’s great to not have the pain and not have to rely on ibuprofen,” he says.

His advice

What advice does Troy have for others considering outpatient knee replacement surgery?

• Get healthy. “Be as heathy as you can be beforehand.”
• Push yourself. “You have to push yourself that first month after surgery. You have to do that, and you have to do the exercises they give you in physical therapy.”
• Stay up with your pain meds. “If you’re off with the pain meds by an hour or two, you’re going to pay for it for two or three days. But then wean yourself off of them when the doctor says it’s OK.”
• Stretch. “When I didn’t stretch, I would regress. Stretching is huge.”

Learn more

To learn more about outpatient knee replacement surgery, read our blog post on the subject. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Fish or one of our other surgeons, call Capital Ortho at 515-440-2676.

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