When Is Knee Replacement Surgery the Right Option?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There are some misconceptions about the procedure, but when it's appropriate, surgery can turn a patient's life around

    (NECN/WJAR: Barbara Morse Silva) - Being able to easily pick up his 4-year-old daughter, Jasmine, is a really big deal for Mike Finnegan. He and his wife, Dana Marie, are both semi-retired and moved to Rhode Island from Ohio three years ago - that's when his knee pain started.

    "Just because of the type of work we do, when you're chasing kids around and playing with them and do different things with them on the ground, up off the ground and just the pain got intense," said Mike.

    That's when he came to see Dr. Gary Ferguson. When he sought help he had already pretty much tried everything

    "Physical therapy, injections, specific medications, activity modification, had both knees involved, really, he had modest success at best," said Dr. Ferguson, an orthopedic surgeon.

    "The first thing I was asked by Dr. Ferguson and his staff was what do you want to do," said Mike.

    "The question I like to ask patients is, is this manageable?  And if the answer is, gee no, then I start to get very confident that surgery has a good role to play right then," said Dr. Ferguson.

    For those with an aversion to the "S" word, Dr. Ferguson has this to say. "I think the most common misconception is the surgery takes out giant chunks of anatomy and throws them away and that's not the case. Major structures - ligaments, muscles, tendons - they all stay. The bones are simply capped with a device on each end of the bone so it has a new surface."

    Mike had his first knee surgery in April of last year, his second, in April of this year.  

    "My quality of life has improved immensely, it's not even something you can put a number on," said Mike.