Paul Preedeedilok, 68, lived with intense pain in both of his knees for 40 years. Each day, Paul woke up knowing his knee joints would feel achy and stiff as he went about his beloved physical activities and work as a registered nurse.
Growing up, Paul played soccer — a highspeed game that involves the bending, twisting and pivoting of agile knees. Though the game has a high risk for knee injury, Paul kept playing throughout high school, college and for another 20 years in local soccer leagues.
“I think I was originally injured while playing soccer in college,” says Paul. “For years I pushed through and lived with the pain. I stopped playing soccer 10 years ago and started having trouble doing all of the other activities I enjoy.”
Though Paul’s knees were suffering from pain, he had to stay active for his demanding job that requires walking and continuous standing. Paul did not stop living his life either — for years he enjoyed walks with his wife, cycling, golfing, tennis and going to the gym until his knee pain became unbearable.
“My knee joints started to deform and deteriorate,” says Paul. “On a scale from one to 10, my joint pain was at an eight. The discomfort I felt kept me from playing sports and it became difficult to walk at work.”
Paul was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthrosis. He was treated with injections and anti-inflammatories. While these conservative treatment options gave him temporary relief, he reached a point where he could not get through the day without experiencing debilitating joint pain. In early 2019, Paul was referred to Andrew Wassef, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, medical director, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Long Beach Medical Center.
After a physical examination and series of x-rays, Paul exhibited early signs of varus deformity in his knees — a condition where the tibia turns inward as a result of worn-down joint cartilage and osteoarthritis. It was then clear that joint replacement surgery using Mako™ Technology would be Paul’s best option to returning to an active, normal lifestyle. Mako™ is the leading technology on the market for joint replacements.
Long Beach Medical Center offers Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted Total Knee, Partial Knee and Total Hip procedures. Mako™ provides a one-of-a-kind 3-D model of a patient’s anatomy to assist the surgeon in pre-planning the placement of knee and hip implants. When the surgeon prepares the bone for implant, the Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System guides the surgeon within a pre-defined area to help provide an accurate and precise placement of the implant.
“Prior to surgery, we obtain a CT scan which gives us an individualized roadmap and surgical plan for the patient,” says Dr. Wassef. “We use the Mako™ robotic-arm intraoperatively to ensure that we get the perfect fit for our patient. This system helps patients have a strong, quick recovery and feel more natural as they get back to their daily lives.”
Paul underwent his first joint replacement surgery on his right knee in 2019. After a successful surgery and swift recovery, he decided to move forward with a second joint replacement surgery on his left knee in February 2020.
Since Paul’s surgeries, he has recovered using a variety of rehabilitation exercises to strengthen his joints and improve flexibility. He practices bending his knees at varying degrees, stretching, balancing and climbing steps to regain range of motion in his knees.
“I’ve been able to get back on my bike and turn the pedals,” says Paul. “Before the surgeries, I could hardly get up and my quality of life was being severely affected. I’m now excited to get back to golfing and going on walks with my wife again.”
If you think you or a loved one is suffering from chronic joint pain, talk to your doctor. To find an orthopedic surgeon who can help, call 800-MEMORIAL (636-6742).