Laura Badger doesn't claim to be an expert in human anatomy, but she knew what the x-rays of her left knee meant. Sitting with Carl Talmo, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital, the Wareham resident could no longer ignore the fact that her knee replacement, performed at a different hospital six years earlier, had not been successful.
"I was amazed, because my thigh was leaning to the left, and my knee was going to the right," Mrs. Badger recalls. "The leg wasn't aligned." Even after the knee replacement, she continued to have pain in her knee.
Still, she had been as active as ever, despite increasing pain. "I'm on my feet a lot, mostly taking care of my three grandchildren," says Mrs. Badger, who at age 67 also works as a seamstress. When a piece of bone had broken off beneath the loose implant, causing her knee to become unstable, she finally made an appointment with Dr. Talmo.
It is a familiar scenario, he says. "If things didn't go well the first time, people are often hesitant about having a joint revision-the surgery we perform when an artificial joint wears out or fails-or even coming in for a followup visit. Fortunately, early failures such as Mrs. Badger's, where the implant lasts less than 10 to 15 years, are infrequent. Although I've seen people whose situations were worse, she could barely stand on her leg."
Although the surgery, which Dr. Talmo performed in December 2007, was technically demanding, it went very well. "From the time I woke up, I knew the pain was finally gone," says Mrs. Badger, who was impressed with the care she received during her stay at the Baptist. "I thought I was in a hotel."
At her six-week followup appointment with Dr. Talmo, she arrived on crutches. But she didn't leave with them. Dr. Talmo confirmed that she was moving well, everything was stable, and she didn't need them anymore.
Thanks to her post-surgical rehabilitation, which she says was more extensive than the one following her first knee replacement, the range of motion in her knee is far greater. "After the first surgery, I could never bend my knee beyond 60 degrees," she says. "I can now bend my knee far beyond that point."
Now pain-free and with a stable leg, Mrs. Badger has been hiking, is busy working on wedding dresses and gowns and is back to chasing her grandchildren around. "I'm so thrilled with my new knee-I can't thank Dr. Talmo enough," she says. "Meeting him changed my life."