Loraine Strayer: Partial Knee Replacement

"Over the last few years, I have developed a high tolerance for pain. But after my knee surgery at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, I am nearly pain free."

“Over the last few years, I have developed a high tolerance for pain,” said 67-year-old Loraine Strayer, “but after my knee surgery at Henry Ford Allegiance Health, I am nearly pain free.”

Loraine has osteoarthritis in her knee, a condition that breaks down cartilage—the  tissue that covers the ends of the bones in the joint and allows them to glide smoothly. The cartilage damage causes the bones to rub painfully against each other.

Loraine’s rheumatologist had been treating her osteoarthritis nonsurgically. “He is very good, and he kept me going with injections of cortisone and other steroids,” she said. Loraine also tried an arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that allows a surgeon to see into the joint and repair some of the damage. “But that didn’t relieve the pain for long, and I knew I would eventually need knee replacement surgery,” she said.

Eventually, Lorraine began having trouble with stairs, and she fell a few times. When pain started keeping her from doing the things she loved, “especially shopping,” she considered further surgery. “I even watched a video on total knee replacement, but I was hoping to avoid that,” Loraine recalled. Reading that Henry Ford Allegiance Health offers minimally invasive partial knee replacement for eligible candidates, Loraine was hopeful. She decided to consult orthopedic surgeon Timothy Ekpo, DO.

Loraine learned that a partial knee replacement is minimally invasive surgery in which only the damaged part of the cartilage and bone is removed and replaced with metal and plastic. This leaves as much as possible of the healthy tissue and bone intact and results in a shorter recovery time than total knee replacement.

“Dr. Ekpo was very kind and put me at ease right away,” Loraine said. “He explained that partial knee replacement is not for every patient. He did a clinical exam and took x-rays, but he said he wouldn’t know for sure if partial knee replacement would work for me until he started surgery.” Loraine went into surgery “with complete confidence that the right decision would be made,” she said.

Dr. Ekpo was able to repair Loraine’s knee with a partial knee replacement, and she went home the next day. “Before I left, the nurses got me up walking and showed me how to use the stairs,” she said. “I couldn’t believe the difference.” Loraine followed up with physical therapy and exercises at home. “The Henry Ford Allegiance staff and the therapists are a great bunch. Everyone was really kind and helpful,” she said.

Within a few weeks of surgery, Loraine regained her mobility and range of motion, and she was shopping again in no time. “On a scale of one-to-ten,” she said, “my pain has gone from a ten before surgery to a one or a two. Sometimes it’s at zero, and I haven’t fully recovered yet, so I am very happy.” 

If you need to keep your cholesterol intake down, limit yourself to no more than three egg yolks per week.