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Knee replacement surgery gives Castle Hayne patient a new lease on life

 

Linda Eltringham will tell you she has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – her family, her daisy-laden Castle Hayne home and her miniature Doberman Pinscher, Precious. Topping her list, however, may be something far more basic: Her ability to move without constant pain.

“For the past 10 years I’ve battled severe knee pain,” said the 53-year-old cosmetologist and image consultant. “At work I was on my feet all day, and when I’d get home, I would just cry from the pain.”

For Eltringham, the worst bouts of pain reduced her to crutches – “Who’d have thought at my age I’d need crutches just to get to my kitchen?” she said. And while pain medications and gels sometimes quelled the discomfort, this avid gardener, photographer and beach-lover knew one serious question loomed: “Will I ever be able to walk again without constant pain?”

Her search for an answer led her to 5301 Wrightsville Ave., home to the nationally ranked New Hanover Regional Medical Center Orthopedic Center at Cape Fear Hospital, and to the expertise of Wilmington orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Hannum.

A thorough examination of Eltringham’s knees revealed that the bones forming her knee joints had worn down, which was the source of

 

her pain.

“Dr. Hannum told me, ‘Linda, I’ve got some bad news, and I’ve got some good news,” recalled Eltringham of her diagnosis. “The bad news is you have severe arthritis in both knees and need surgery, but the good news is I can give you your life back.”

Eltringham underwent total knee replacement in both knees, a procedure wherein the worn-out lower end of the femur (thigh bone) and the worn-out upper end of the tibia (shin bone) are removed. Both ends then receive metal prosthetic components. In between these components sits a thin plastic insert allowing the femur to move smoothly over the tibia. Together, these parts form the new knee joint.

Knee replacement is one of the most common joint replacement surgeries,” said Dr. Hannum. “When patients say to me, ‘I can’t walk, I can’t stand, I can’t get up out of a chair because of the pain,’ it usually means all other treatment options have been exhausted and that knee replacement surgery is the next choice of treatment.”

Eltringham’s successful knee replacements were followed by months of physical therapy and healing. But it was well worth it, she said. “It’s like night and day,” she said “I’m back walking on the beach now. I just feel like the bionic woman."

 

Eltringham said her new life wouldn’t be possible without the care of so many.

“I am so thankful for the people who gave me back my ability to walk without constant pain – my doctors, my nurses, physical therapists and the whole staff at the NHRMC Orthopedic Center,” she said. “I just give thanks to God for putting these people in my life.”

For more information on the NHRMC Orthopedic Center, visit:

www.nhrmc.org/orthopedics

or call VitaLine at 815.5188.

 


 

 

Below, in his own words, orthopedic surgeon and joint reconstruction specialist Dr. Walter Frueh of Atlantic Orthopedics comments on knee replacement surgery and its benefits.

Total knee replacement relieves pain and improves the quality of life for nearly 800,000 patients in the U.S. each year. Gains in mobility and function of the knee are achieved by replacing the worn out bone and cartilage with new smooth, gliding surfaces. Physical therapy and rehabilitation after surgery are just as important as the procedure itself. While the joint surfaces are replaced with new materials, the surrounding tendons, muscles, and bones remain intact. Physical therapy helps the body coordinate the new with the old and regain lost function. Knee replacement surgery and rehabilitation offer patients the ability to comfortably return to activities they enjoy. It stops pain sufferers from getting left behind and allows them to rejoin their friends and family in the joys of living an active lifestyle.

 
 
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