Shelley Scoleri has always been active, from cheerleading and gymnastics as a child, to years spent as a caretaker for show horses. On her company softball teams, she played catcher. “I rarely sat on the sidelines,” she says.
But over the years, a nagging pain in her right knee grew. She needed corticosteroid shots before business trips, and bottles of ibuprofen to cope. “There was little if any cartilage in my right knee,” she says. A replacement was her only option. “I didn’t want to retire in a wheelchair.”
Patients considering knee replacements are generally between 50 and 80, and most often in their 70s, says Glen Bradish, MD, orthopedic surgeon for Newton Medical Center. “If you have pain that can no longer be controlled by medications or therapy, a knee replacement may be for you.”
New materials mean knee replacements today are highly durable. “Ninety percent of patient implants are lasting greater than 20 years, much longer than they have in the past,” says Dr. Bradish. “Most people, even those getting their replacement at relatively young ages, find that their implants are lasting them the rest of their lives.”
A Joint Effort
Newton Medical Center’s Total Joint Program begins with a special class before surgery where patients and caregivers meet their therapists and nurses. “We have joint replacement nurse navigators to follow patients throughout their care,” Dr. Bradish says. “We have systems set up so that many patients can go straight home after surgery, with home physical therapy and home nursing instead of going to a rehab facility.”
That’s what happened with Scoleri, who received her new knee on July 17, 2017. She started rehab that same day and went home just two days later, which was ahead of schedule. “So many different people came to my side, encouraged me and helped me to push on to accomplish my goal,” she says. “It was an amazing journey!”