Over the last few years, Teri Meggers suffered from severe knee pain. She saw several doctors about the stabbing pain in her left knee and they recommended conservative treatment options to help alleviate her pain. Teri had to give up her pastime of swing dancing and avoided stairs at all costs to escape the pain.

She lived with extreme pain, stiffness and discomfort. As recommended, she tried conservative options to relieve her pain, but her movement continued to become more limited. Stiffness in her knee continued to worsen, nights were long and restless. Teri knew she had to find another option. She wasn’t going to let extreme pain and discomfort keep her from living her life any longer.

Teri was determined to remain active and enjoy a full night’s rest again, so she met with Albert Tsai, M.D., Mako®-certified orthopedic surgeon, at the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. During the consultation, Dr. Tsai took x-rays of her knee, which revealed Teri had no cartilage remaining in one area of her left knee. This caused her bones to rub directly against each other – the cause of all her pain. Dr. Tsai recommended a partial knee replacement, robotically assisted using Mako® – a new technology offered at Long Beach Medical Center.

The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center offers an innovative treatment option for those suffering with osteoarthritis that has not yet impacted the entire knee, like Teri. Mako uses a surgeon-controlled robotic arm that allows the surgeon exact precision and the ability to selectively target the damaged part of the knee.

Dr. Tsai was confident Teri would benefit from the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center because of its rapid rehabilitation philosophy that leads to better surgical outcomes and a one to two day average hospital stay. Together, they decided that a Mako partial knee replacement was right for Teri because it would replace the damaged portion of her knee with an artificial implant.

Before surgery, Teri attended a pre-operative education class led by the Joint Care Coordinator, Deborah Fenton, RN. She learned about medications, mobility with assistive devices, car transfers, stair training, pain management and physical therapy exercises to remain safe and active once at home to help with a faster recovery.

“The pre-operative education class was very helpful in letting me know what was going to happen and to know what ‘normal recovery’ looks like,” says Teri. “It really helped me not to worry during my recovery because I knew what to expect.”

Unlike other more invasive procedures, Mako spares natural bone and ligaments and allows precision in implant positioning. During surgery, using the Mako robot, Dr. Tsai had access to real-time visual, tactile and auditory feedback to facilitate optimal joint resurfacing and implant positioning. This resulted in a shorter hospital stay and a more natural feeling knee for Teri after surgery.

“Total knee replacement is not always optimal for patients with early to mid-stage osteoarthritis in just one or two parts of the knee, like Teri,” says Dr. Tsai. “For patients with partial osteoarthritis of the knee, Mako® Partial Knee Resurfacing may be the more appropriate solution.”

Teri was back at work three weeks after her surgery. She began to go up and down stairs with ease, and was able to resume activities that once caused her severe pain. Teri continues her recovery to full mobility – her ultimate goal is to “boogie woogie” on the dance floor again.

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