Marshall Van Wagner put off knee replacement surgery for two years because of the horror stories.
Long-lasting pain and a difficult rehab process can accompany many knee replacement operations, but the 58-year-old Pepco worker didn’t have much of a choice.
After years of climbing on steel transformers and lifting heavy objects, Van Wagner’s knees were shot. So he turned to Bethesda orthopedic surgeon Chris Cannova, who’s putting the relatively new technology of custom-fitted knee replacement to use.
“I can’t explain what a relief it was. There’s just no pain,” Van Wagner said. “I really put off the surgery, but I can’t say enough good things about the procedure. To me, it’s a phenomenal thing.”
On Tuesday (tomorrow), Suburban Hospital will host a free seminar about the procedure from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the hospital (8600 Old Georgetown Rd.). Cannova will discuss new technologies for reducing pain and restoring mobility in those with knee or hip pain.
The process uses CT scans of a patient’s knee, hip or ankle, which are uploaded to a software program that creates a 3D model.
Metal is poured into a mold to create a patient-specific knee implant that creates a nearly perfect fit. The process has been proven to cut recovery time and make the replacements more effective for controlling pain.
Conventional knee replacements use an approximate replacement knee.
Van Wagner’s operation took less than 70 minutes. He was in physical therapy the next day and mostly pain-free.
“I walked all the way down the hall back into the room, even to the bathroom. That was over 100 some feet,” Van Wagner said. “I can’t explain to you what a relief it was. My recovery time wasn’t anywhere near to as long as what I thought it would be.”
He is now able to walk along the C&O Canal, go fishing and go canoeing, some of his favorite activities he said he couldn’t do before the operation because of constant knee pain. He’s scheduled to get his other knee replaced via the same method in about three weeks.