Patient Stories

Mark C. Hartley, MD and Thomas A. Martinelli, MD

Trudy and her daughter Carol share more thana family resemblance. Both have struggled with worsening arthritis in their knees. While they were in Ocean Cityfor the summer, the pain was so bad that neither of them could walk from the beach blanket to the water. Mother and daughter made a pact: they'd each have a knee replacement when they returned to Northern Virginia in the fall.

Trudy went first. She'd already tried cortisone shots and lubricating injections to control her arthritis pain. Eventually the shots stopped working, and walking and climbing stairs became so painful she didn't want to go anywhere anymore.OrthoVirginia surgeon Thomas Martinelli, MD, replaced Trudy's right knee and she was up and walking the next day. She spent just two nights in the hospital.After several weeks of physical therapy, she didn't need a cane or walker anymore. One month later, she was completely painfree.

Carol had her knee replacement with OrthoVirginia surgeon Mark Hartley, MD. She too had tried conservative measures for her pain, to no avail. Immediately after her surgery, she walked from the door of her hospital room to the bed. "It makes you realize you can put weight on your knee right away," she says. "They don't want you sitting around after a knee replacement; they want you up and moving." Her mother's quick and trouble-free recovery was a great motivator for Carol, who secretly worried she wouldn't do as well. Her concerns were unwarranted. She returned to her job as an IT manager within two weeks of her surgery and recently walked her first 5K race.

At 81, Trudy thought she might be too old for knee replacement, and at 56, Carol thought she might be too young. But thanks to modern techniques and improved implant design, orthopaedic surgeons base surgical decisions on a patient's pain and disability, not necessarily chronological age. Both mother and daughter benefited from the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques, including smaller incisions, less tissue trauma and bleeding, shorter hospital stays and a faster overall recovery.Eventually, Carol will need her other knee replaced. When the time comes, she has no hesitation.