If at First you Don’t Succeed, Try Conformis

My name is William Glass and #thisismyknee

It’s sad to think about the many times my family had to change our plans at the last minute to accommodate my knee pain. At first, that meant reworking vacations so that I would not have to stand or walk for long periods of time. But eventually that pain started seeping into my daily routine. Walking our family dog became impossible and even riding my Harley around the neighborhood was difficult because of the way I had to position my knees. The pain stemmed from a sports injury that happened when I was a teenager. Despite several surgeries over the years, nothing relieved the near-constant constant ache. By the time I was 56 years old, I could no longer go on hunting trips with my sons or even squat down to pick up a ball during a game of catch. I knew that if I wanted to keep up with my family then I would have to consider a right knee replacement.

I heard good things about Dr. Peter Lindy at East Memphis Orthopedic and scheduled an appointment with him. He confirmed my biggest fear within minutes— both my knees had to be replaced. The right knee felt like it was in slightly worse shape, so Dr. Lindy scheduled an exploratory surgery to take a closer look at the damage. He confirmed that if the surgery showed that the damage was severe, which he expected, the best option would probably be a partial or full knee replacement. I went into the operating room in May 2017 without knowing exactly what to expect, but I trusted Dr. Lindy to help me find the best path forward.

I woke-up hours later and Dr. Lindy told me that damage was so bad that we should not wait. My right knee replacement was done with a standard off-the-shelf model knee implant. I was able to leave the hospital the next morning, but the recovery was very challenging. I used a walker for about eight days before upgrading to a cane, but I still didn’t feel quite right. Even five months after surgery, my knee was still warm to the touch and the swelling hadn’t gone down very much. The pain was keeping me awake at night, and I still worried whether I could walk or stand for long periods of time. I was not sure this procedure was going to deliver the benefits I had hoped it would to let me be active again. I knew I needed a second replacement, but I wasn’t sure I could go through this pain all over again – especially if the outcome was not what I wanted.

Dr. Lindy had originally discussed the option of a Conformis replacement when we talked about my first procedure. This time, I asked for more information about Conformis. He told me a CAT scan would be used to create a 3D printed model of my knee. Then Conformis would use the model to develop an implant that was perfectly matched to my unique anatomy. Dr. Lindy told me that in some cases his Conformis patients experience a faster recovery and are happier with their results. That was all the information I needed – I scheduled my second surgery for December 2017.

Like my last operation, I left the hospital the day after surgery and used a walker to get to my car. That was the only similarity between my two recoveries. I was able to walk without using the walker two days after my Conformis surgery and never even needed a cane. The swelling went down in a few short weeks and I progressed faster in physical therapy because I wasn’t in as much post-op pain.

I returned to work at my insurance company less than a month after the Conformis surgery and was able to tackle the twenty-two steps up to my office with ease. Even though it was happening in my body, it felt like an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t remember the last time I climbed the steps to my office without clutching the railing for support. I have also returned to riding my Harley and walking my dog every morning alongside my wife. We manage to get in 8,000 – 10,000 steps every day! I am so glad that I opted for a second surgery with Conformis and I encourage others to look at this option for any knee implant, but especially if they are not happy with the results of their first replacement.

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