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Published on August 10, 2018

Outpatient Total Knee Replacement Let Her Heal on Her Own Schedule

Photo of Karyn Randall, outpatient total knee replacement patient.

After an outpatient total knee replacement, Karyn Randall was able to get back on her feet in no time.

Like the rest of her family, Karyn Randall is an active person. She has kids to keep up with and big dogs to take for walks, enjoys hiking and camping, and plays badminton.

Unfortunately, her family also has a history of knee injuries that end up resulting in replacement surgery. Her mother and her sister had both undergone knee replacement in the conventional manner that requires a stay at the hospital and a lengthy recovery period.

Despite doing her best to reduce her risk, including maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically fit, Randall still succumbed to knee injuries through sports. Twenty years ago, she tore her ACL – the anterior cruciate ligament that helps hold the knee joint together.

At the time she opted for physical therapy rather than surgery, which is how she initially met Orthopedic Surgeon John Murphy, D.O. After a successful round of therapy, she was able to continue leading a healthy and active life.

Since that time, however, Randall suffered additional injuries, including a torn meniscus and a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Now in her early 50s, her knee had become very unstable and was prone to giving out and causing her to fall.

The falls were beginning to interfere with her everyday life – standing up at business meetings or even getting up during the night came with a risk of falling. “If I didn’t catch myself on a table edge, the fall would be excruciating,” she remembered, adding that she feared every fall was injuring her joint even further.

Randall began wearing a knee brace for more strenuous physical activities, like climbing. Although, it wasn’t just her leisure activities that were impacted, her knee issues had become a major problem at work, too.

As a sales consultant for a car company, Randall spends the day climbing in and out of a variety of vehicles, including trucks and lifts, as she demos them to customers. During the cold months, she also goes out to scrape ice off the vehicles in the morning – a particular hazard for someone with a faulty knee.

It became apparent that Randall was going to need to take greater measures to prevent future pain, falls, and injuries, and to allow her to keep up her active lifestyle. Arthritis and a degenerative joint disease prevented her from having her knee surgically repaired, so a total replacement was in order.

A lot of thought went into her decision, and Randall carefully considered which option would be best for her. “To be honest, I am a big chicken, and this was my first surgery, so I carefully chose a trusted surgeon,” she said.

Though she has since moved away from the Midland area, she remembered her previous positive experience with Dr. Murphy and decided to go with him again. “I’ve followed Dr. Murphy and he has had an outstanding reputation,” she said. “It is definitely worth the trip back for that expertise and support.”

The time involved in the surgery and recovery was another concern. “Being paid only commission, the timing of surgery and length of time off impacts my income 100 percent,” she explained.

Since she had no medical risk factors that would require a stay at the hospital, Randall was eligible for outpatient surgery at Great Lakes Bay Surgery & Endoscopy Center.

“Outpatient surgery was the choice that allowed me to have the surgeon that I wanted and to recover at home where I was most comfortable,” she said. “It was also easier to schedule.” With the scheduling convenience and the short recovery time, outpatient surgery would allow her to miss the least amount of work and income.

Randall prepared for the surgery by performing her prescribed strengthening exercises and kept herself busy to avoid fretting over the upcoming procedure. When the time for the operation came, it went as smoothly as could be hoped for.

“The anesthesiologist did a fantastic and seamless job,” Randall says, mentioning that the surgery was finished without her even noticing. “Dr. Murphy did a fantastic job both with the knee replacement and aesthetically with the incision site.” She was able to walk just a couple hours after the surgery and went home that same day.

Randall’s mother and sister joined her spouse and kids at the house to take care of her since they just couldn’t imagine coming home from a knee surgery the very same day, but she didn’t need much beyond a little rest. She kept her leg elevated with the compression sock on and iced it the first day as she was told, but the next day she was up and around baking cookies for her family.

The day after that, Randall began her physical therapy. “I astounded the therapists and was the envy of all the other knee replacement recovery patients,” she said, because of how quickly she was able to return to normal function.

The results were noticeable right away. “Immediately after surgery, I was much more stable,” she said. “I maintained the minimum prescribed medicine regimen for the first month without having to take anything stronger.”

Today, a mere two months later, Randall’s life is back to normal. “I was able to return to work in two weeks thanks to the surgical skill, my good health and the therapy I received,” she said.

Randall is also able to enjoy the physical activities she used to do before her injuries. She has been able to walk her dogs, go camping, ride her bike, play badminton and take walks along the beach again. “I would not have been able to do these activities prior to surgery without a brace,” she added.

All in all, Randall is glad to have chosen outpatient surgery with MidMichigan Health. She appreciates being able to select a surgeon whose skill she trusted, getting to recover in the comfort of her own home and especially the convenience of the flexible scheduling and shorter recovery time.

“Outpatient total knee replacement with Dr. Murphy was the right choice for me.”

Those who would like more information on Dr. Murphy or MidMichigan Health’s orthopedic services may visit www.midmichigan.org/bonesandjoints.

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