Penny Smith, 74, is a wanderer at heart. Her travels have taken her far and wide, evident from the photos and souvenirs she has collected over the years, until a few years ago, when her travels were interrupted by unrelenting pain in her knee.

X-rays showed that the smooth cartilage covering the ends of her thigh and shin bones had worn away, leaving the bones in her left knee to rub against one another with no slippery cushion between them.

When conservative treatments no longer alleviated her pain, her primary care physician with MemorialCare Medical Group, James Ashizawa, M.D., referred her to Daniel Duggan, D.O., orthopedic surgeon with MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center. After consulting with Dr. Duggan in January 2022, Penny decided to move forward with surgical knee replacement.patient is pain-free thanks to successful knee surgery

Penny was directed to the MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute at Saddleback Medical Center, where every patient receives a guidebook to educate them on what to expect while at the hospital and what they need to do before and after surgery. Patients are also offered preoperative physical therapy, which Penny stated was instrumental to her successful recovery in the long run.

From day one, every patient is encouraged to designate a close family member or friend as their “coach.” This coach attends classes with the patient, where they are prepared for their role as a caregiver during recovery. For further support, the Center assigns a joint replacement navigator who serves as a guide and helps patients coordinate their care path, pre-and post-surgery.

Dr. Duggan performed Penny’s knee replacement surgery on Feb. 7 using KneeAlign®, a single-use device that provides real-time feedback and step-by-step guidance, enabling surgeons to align the implant to the patient’s unique anatomy.

MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center’s program is the joint replacement gem of Orange County. When patients have joint replacements performed at a hospital like ours, they have better access to resources, high-quality, coordinated care and a team of experts.

Daniel Duggan, D.O., orthopedic surgeon with MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center

The precise alignment of KneeAlign results in less wear on the implant and a quicker recovery – many patients have mobilization as early as the day of their surgery. This state-of-the-art technology combined with preoperative support lay a foundation for patients to not only have a successful surgery, but also to manage pain throughout the entire process.

“From start to finish, I’m so thankful for the doctors and team at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center,” Penny said. “I feel so much better now than I did before!”

For more information about joint replacement at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center, visit