Physician Assistant Ron S. had worked with orthopedic patients for more than 30 years. In February 2007, Ron became the orthopedic patient — undergoing a total knee replacement. He says the experience changed his personal and professional life.
Ron’s journey to his new JOURNEY knee began 30 years ago, when he fell off a ladder and injured his right knee. Over the years, his knee got progressively worse. Finally, his degenerative arthritis became so bad it was interfering with his sleep, and he couldn’t walk more than a few feet without extreme pain. His knee pain was preventing him from doing the things he loved to do; and work was extremely difficult, as he was required to stand for long periods of time during surgeries.
Because Ron has such an in-depth knowledge of orthopedics, he limped around for about a year as he waited for a new prosthetic to hit the market. He had researched prosthetic knees and had his eye on a new prosthetic, JOURNEY, by Smith and Nephew. The design of the JOURNEY prosthetic is geared toward younger patients who want to lead an active life. At age 55, Ron was concerned he would probably need a second knee replacement during his lifetime (because, eventually, artificial knees do wear out). Based on research, SCO surgeon Dr. Timothy Panek said he hoped the unique metal that makes up Ron’s JOURNEY prosthetic knee could last 20 years or more, double the life expectancy of other artificial knees. There are also other advantages, too. “This knee looks and acts more like a human knee – and so it acts more like a knee for the patient,” said Panek.
Ron volunteered to be the first patient at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury to receive a JOURNEY knee. As he prepared for his total knee replacement, he was interviewed by WCCO and Smith and Nephew (who also filmed his surgery).
After surgery, that same night, Ron was already up walking around. He was able to flex his knee 120 degrees post operation; but, most importantly, the deep burning pain of his arthritic knee was gone. Ron went home the next morning, determined to complete his physical therapy on his own and get back the life he wanted to live. Two weeks after surgery, Ron went to Mexico for a work-related seminar. While he was in Mexico, he continued his therapy in the pool and enjoyed being able to walk without pain.
Ron credits Dr. Panek for his successful knee replacement. “He is an excellent surgeon who pays attention to the details,” he said.
Ron is very pleased with his new knee and is already busy putting it to the test. He loves waterskiing, deer hunting, biking and walking. Last summer, he went camping with his family and couldn’t go hiking with them. This year, Ron says, he’ll be leading them up the hiking trails out in front with the grandkids.