Stepping Out: New Knees Change a Life
Getting around had become nearly unbearable for Clarice McLaughlin. The 75-year-old should’ve been enjoying retirement after years of caring for others as a certified nursing assistant.
Instead, McLaughlin was missing out on favorite activities—like riding her bike and taking long walks—because arthritis had finally gotten the best of her knee.
She’d lived with the degenerative condition a good 30 years, even under going arthroscopy to relieve the joint inflammation and pain arthritis causes. (During arthroscopy, a surgeon removes cartilage and other connective tissue damaged by arthritis.) But as McLaughlin’s arthritis worsened, its wear and tear became too much.
“I was in so much pain and walking with a really bad limp,” said McLaughlin. “Moving was becoming so difficult.”
Seeking relief, McLaughlin visited the same clinic where she’d undergone arthroscopy 15 years earlier. However, she wasn’t comfortable with the doctor’s diagnosis.
“He took X-rays but said he couldn’t tell whether I needed a partial or total knee replacement,” she said. “I just didn’t want someone cutting me open without knowing exactly what was going on. So I went home and prayed about it.”
Call it divine intervention. One day soon after, McLaughlin just happened to be at Anderson County Hospital for routine blood work when she noticed the Community Health newsletter. A story about a Saint Luke’s orthopedic surgeon now treating patients at Anderson County’s Specialty Clinic caught her eye.
Jeffrey Salin, D.O., uses a minimally invasive technique for hip and knee replacements. It ensures patients experience less pain, a shorter hospital stay, and faster recovery.
“I knew I had to make an appointment with him,” said McLaughlin.
During the exam, Dr. Salin discovered McLaughlin’s cartilage was completely gone, making her knee joint bone-on-bone. He recommended a total knee replacement—and McLaughlin couldn’t have been more confident about the diagnosis.
“He played a video that showed exactly what he’d do during surgery and explained everything in detail,” she said. “He put my mind completely at ease.”
McLaughlin underwent surgery Oct. 21, 2010, at Saint Luke’s South Hospital in Overland Park. After four days, she returned to Anderson County Hospital to complete three weeks of rehabilitation close to home.
There, she became sort of a celebrity among hospital staffers. “During a staff meeting, someone said ‘I can’t believe the size of her knee,’ so everyone wanted to see,” said McLaughlin. “There was another knee-surgery patient whose knee was swollen twice the size of mine. And I didn’t have any stitches or staples. They called it a miracle surgery.”
Today, McLaughlin continues to regain her mobility, strength, and flexibility through physical therapy. “I don’t have a limp anymore,” said McLaughlin. “And I can’t wait until the weather warms up so I can ride my bike again and go for long walks.”
Do I Need Surgery?
When pain interferes with your quality of life, it’s time to take action
I’m too young for a hip replacement. I’m too old for knee surgery. Jeffrey Salin, D.O., hears these explanations all the time.
“Nobody is ever too anything for surgery, especially when pain makes it impossible to enjoy life,” said the board-certified orthopedic surgeon, whose patients range in age from 21 to 91.
Dr. Salin specializes in replacing knees (full and partial) and hips, resurfacing hips, and performing
minimally invasive surgeries. He began seeing patients at Anderson County Hospital’s Specialty
Clinic in April 2010.
“I advise all patients to talk with their doctor when they can’t play with their grandkids, tend to the garden, walk the dog, or perform any activity that makes their life enjoyable,” he said. +
Joint master Jeffrey Salin, D.O., treats patients at Anderson County Hospital’s Specialty Clinic.
To schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon at Anderson County Hospital: Call (913) 381-5225.