Getting Back on my Feet FAST

My name is Linda Bilardello and I have a Conformis implant

As a physical therapist working and living outside Columbus, Ohio, my job is to help clients achieve the best physical mobility that they can. Many of them are living with congenital disorders or were born with cerebral palsy, so it is especially important that I challenge each one to do more than they originally thought they could. These clients depend on me and there is no substitute therapist that can take my place when I am not able to work. But recently, I experienced firsthand what it is like to struggle with mobility. I lived with serious and debilitating pain in my left knee on and off for years. I used to receive cortisone shots that would provide me with relief for weeks on end, but when they stopped working my doctor confirmed it was time for a total knee replacement.

I’ve watched many friends and even assisted family members who had undergone total knee replacement surgery. I know firsthand that the road to recovery can be lengthy and painful. I immediately considered what my own recovery would be like. How long would I have to be away from the clients that depended on me? Could I resume my active lifestyle without the fear of my knee giving out? I reached out to colleagues and friends to learn about their experiences with different knee replacement models and conducted some additional research online. Before long, a friend and fellow physical therapist in Dayton, OH introduced me to the Conformis total knee replacement. She explained that many of her Conformis patients were experiencing faster recovery times than those who received the typical off-the-shelf replacement. The idea of getting back to my clients faster was encouraging, so I decided to meet with a Conformis surgeon to learn more.

Doctor Edward Westerheide made me feel comfortable from the start. He explained that a Conformis knee was the only truly customizable replacement on the market. Other implants generally come in a range of standard sizes, which means in some cases surgeons may have to cut away more existing bone and surrounding tissue to try to achieve a good fit. Using a different approach, Conformis uses data from a CT scan for each patient to create a 3D model of my joint. Each replacement component is then engineered to match my unique anatomy, which results in the surgeon having to remove less of my natural bone and tissue. I decided to move forward with the Conformis replacement and before I knew it, it was time for my operation.

As I prepared for surgery at the New Albany Surgical Center, I again found myself thinking about my recovery timeline. I needed to get back to work quickly, but also