Surgeon Takes Time to Focus on Patient’s Recovery

A partial knee replacement has Roy Yarbrough, 63, of Vacaville, optimistic that he will return to the tennis court this spring. Looking back, he’s amazed that Orthopedic Surgeon Andrew Brooks spent two hours with him on his very first visit.

“To have a doctor spend so much time with me, going over my test results and explaining the options for repairing my knee just blew me away,” Roy says. “After that visit, I felt very confident that I could make an informed decision about my surgery.”

“After my first visit, I felt very confident that I could make an informed decision about my surgery.
—Roy Yarbrough

For Roy, it was hard-won confidence. Losing his wife in 2008 left him with a very negative impression of doctors and health care in general. “I pretty much gave up on health care for the next five years,” Roy says. “It was only when I realized that my knee needed more help than rest and ice could give it, that I gave in and sought medical help.”

Garth Davis, M.D., his physician at the Center for Primary Care in Vacaville, sent him for tests, including an MRI of his knee. When the results came in, Roy was referred to Dr. Brooks.

“Roy was a good candidate for a partial knee replacement,” says Dr. Brooks. “The procedure is much less invasive than traditional knee replacement surgery and patients recover more quickly and with less pain.”

During that first, long appointment, Dr. Brooks reviewed all of Roy’s test results with him, explained the condition of his knee and shared what he could expect from various treatments. “I had torn the meniscus in the same knee back in the early ’90s, but I wasn’t sure I needed a knee replacement,” Roy says. “Dr. Brooks showed me a comparison of my left and right knees. There was very little padding in my left knee—it was pretty much bone on bone—which explained my knee pain.

“Once I decided on the surgery, we set a surgery date 30 days away and I had a lot of preparation to do.”

Roy met with Dr. Brooks’ medical assistant Erinn Whittemore, who gave him a timeline that included a visit to his dentist to ensure he had no infections that could contaminate his surgical site. Physician Assistant Hanna Krimms went over his medications and post-operative care.

“By the date of my surgery I felt very well taken care of,” Roy remembers. “And, best of all, the surgery began at 7:30 a.m. and I was home by 11:30 a.m.”

Roy’s surgery was Sept. 25, and he returned to work on Oct. 15. During his recovery at home, he had two weeks of visits from a home health nurse and a physical therapist.

“My recovery was amazingly good. I skipped the crutches and walker and went right to using a cane,” Roy adds. “I mowed my lawn 10 days after surgery, although Dr. Brooks wasn’t happy to hear that. Unfortunately, I felt so good that I continued to do too much, too soon, and two days after returning to work I couldn’t put any weight on my knee.”

He was sure he had ruined the surgery. He returned to Dr. Brooks’ office for help and Hannah reassured him that it was just a case of overuse. She outlined a program of rest and pain medication and the problem soon resolved.

Today, his recovery is on schedule. He has relatively little pain and says he’s doing great.

What is Partial Knee Replacement

A partial knee replacement is designed for patients with limited knee arthritis. Unlike a total knee replacement involving the removal of all of the knee joint surfaces, a partial knee procedure replaces only one side of the knee joint, preserving the healthy parts of the joint for continued use.

Knee osteoarthritis usually occurs first in the medial (inside) compartment, as this side of the knee bears most of the patient’s weight. In knees that are otherwise healthy, this approach allows the outer compartment and all of the ligaments to remain intact.

This conservative procedure is less invasive than traditional knee replacement surgery and is an outpatient procedure. It requires a smaller incision, less bone removal and minimal trauma to the surrounding soft tissue. This means the patient recovers more quickly and with less pain.

For more information about Dr. Brooks and joint replacement, please call the Center for Specialty Care, a NorthBay Affiliate, at (707) 624-7900.

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