Patient Stories

Mark C. Hartley, MD

For more than five years, Jerri ignored the increasing pain in her left knee. The 64-year-old psychotherapist from Alexandria knew she’d ultimately need a knee replacement, but she wasn’t ready to give up her active, athletic lifestyle. She spent busy days seeing patients, performing community work with the homeless, and keeping up with her six grandchildren. Running, swimming, biking, and boating were often on her schedule.

But when the pain finally forced her to limit her activities, she knew she had to take the plunge. “The most important thing for me was finding a physician and a team that were eager to partner with the patient and focus on early mobilization to ensure the best possible outcome,” she says.

A three-month search led her to OrthoVirginia and surgeon Mark Hartley, MD, who performed a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive muscle-sparing total knee replacement in 2008.

“From the beginning, their focus is on wellness and restoring a high level of function,” she says. “They ask what you want to do afterwards and work with you to make a plan to get it done. It’s a true partnership.”

This innovative technique combines the latest minimally invasive methods with a surgical approach that leaves key muscles and tendons intact. Instead of dividing or cutting the quadriceps tendon, surgeons make a small incision on the side of the knee, separate the tendon, and go in under the quad muscle. Patients quickly regain knee function, and recovery is much faster and less painful.

When she woke up from surgery, Jerri began lifting and flexing her leg right away. A few hours later, she walked from her hospital room out into the hallway and back to her bed. “My goal was to become very active, very quickly and Dr. Hartley and his team gave me plenty of opportunities to realize my capacity and achieve my objectives,” she says.

After two nights in the hospital, she returned home and began physical therapy. Within three weeks, she was back at work part-time and climbing the stairs to her office. Soon, she was walking two miles a day. A month later, she helped her husband set up hypothermia shelters for the homeless, a task that involved much physical labor.

Jerri calls her OrthoVirginia experience “quite amazing” and praises Dr. Hartley and his team. “From the beginning, their focus is on wellness and restoring a high level of function,” she says. “They ask what you want to do afterwards and work with you to make a plan to get it done. It’s a true partnership.”