Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Avera Orthopedics helping patients live pain-free

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Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints. It occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. But you don’t have to live with that, often, debilitating pain.

“I knew it was time to get fixed. I knew it,” said Keith Ballinger of Garretson.

Ballinger’s knee pain was disrupting his active lifestyle. He couldn’t walk 100 yards without stopping to sit down.

“Sometimes I would go to bed at night and my knee would be okay, and I’d wake up in the morning and just walking to the restroom, I could feel the flaming. And sometimes it was a constant pressure and other times it was literally burning sensations,” said Ballinger.

“We saw arthritis that was very severe, bone on bone but only in one compartment,” said Dr. Thomas Ambrose, orthopedic surgeon with Avera Orthopedics.

The knee is made up of three compartments. The inside and outside are weight-bearing portions of the knee. The third compartment is between the knee cap and the front of the knee.

“When only one of those compartments is affected with arthritis, it is then amenable to a partial knee replacement where we’re just replacing one compartment,” said Dr. Ambrose.

Ballinger received a partial knee replacement from Dr. Ambrose this past July.

“He was an ideal candidate for the partial knee replacement,” said Dr. Ambrose.

As Dr. Ambrose explains, times have changed with it comes to joint replacement surgeries and recovery.

“Patients are home the next day. In some selected patients, especially those with a partial knee replacement, that’s done as an outpatient. They’re walking on it, they’re fully mobile the afternoon of surgery and they’re home that evening,” said Dr. Ambrose.

Ballinger came out of surgery pain-free and was walking hours after surgery.

“She told me I had to slow down. I was going too fast. She was afraid I was going to fall down and I was like I feel pretty good. I’m good,” said Ballinger.

And the best part --

“I got to go home that day and sleep in own bed,” said Ballinger.

Ballinger’s recovery consisted of physical therapy five days a week for two weeks.

“Within three weeks, literally within three weeks, everything was back to normal,” said Ballinger.

“That’s why I do this job. It’s the personal satisfaction of being able to help patients regain not only a level of comfort, but a significant improvement in their functional capability,” said Dr. Ambrose.

“I would absolutely recommend a partial knee for anybody. In fact, I tell people you gotta look at a partial knee because you can get back in the game quicker,” said Ballinger.

Dr. Ambrose says most patients elect to have joint replacement surgery after conservative therapies have failed.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.