Orthopedic Services Patient Stories

Woman’s Active Lifestyle Restored after Knee Replacement Surgery

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Female patient shows her scars after total knee joint replacement surgery

Same-day Total Knee Replacement

Kate Vargo just spent a weekend in Washington, D.C., and even got in a serious workout and vigorous sightseeing while she was there. What made the trip so special is that she was healthy enough to go in the first place.

Just last November, Kate underwent same-day total knee replacement at University Hospitals. At 52 years old, she wondered if she was too young. She was certain of one thing. She was too young to struggle through pain for the rest of her life.

“The last two years were a real struggle, and the last six months were really painful. It ruled my life. Every decision was around my stupid knee. It was depressing,” said Vargo, a pharmaceutical sales rep who spends a lot of her workday on the go. “Injections were unsuccessful. My physician said ‘I'll see you in three months’ after I could barely work. I thought, ‘I can't do this.’”

A family member recommended Matthew Kraay, MD, Director for The Center for Joint Replacement and Preservation at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, for a second opinion.

“I got in quickly. I saw him once, he looked at the X-ray, we talked, and I said ‘Let’s do it.’ My other doctor made me feel like maybe I was losing my mind. I thought ‘am I being a baby?’ Dr. Kraay was straight to point. I had confidence in myself and in him. He said ‘You did everything you could do, Kate.’”

Kate was home 12 hours after surgery. “I was scared at first, but he offered me the chance to stay. I went home with the help of my nerve block and was comfortable in my own bed. People think it’s a cost thing, but it isn’t. I had the choice.”

Another positive to joint replacement at 52, according to Kate, is that her therapists pushed her hard to get past “just ok” to the full life she had before. Like trips to Washington, D.C.

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