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Patient Stories

Many active adults experience joint aches and pains. But when constant discomfort begins to hinder movement and interfere with daily activities, and you haven’t found relief from anti-inflammatory medications, rest or physical therapy, it may be time to discuss the possibility of joint replacement with your physician. “Traditionally, joint replacement surgery was not recommended for younger patients for fear that the patients would outlive their artificial joint and require difficult revision surgery earlier than anticipated,” says Jonathan A. Richman, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Bassett Medical Center. “Over the years, there have been improvements in both materials and design of joint replacement devices. These improvements allow us to offer certain younger individuals who have painful arthritic conditions replacement surgery.”

Read on and learn how patients who underwent joint replacement at Bassett say that the surgery changed their lives.

Relief from an Old Injury

Gerald Vester, 65, of Howes Cave, was injured in the line of duty as a police officer in 1989. The pain in his right knee was excruciating – everyday activities were compromised as he attempted to limit movement. Gerry Vester.jpg

“I was told I needed joint replacement surgery back in 1989,” says Vester. “Years have passed, and about a year and a half ago the pain became so agonizing I had to use a cane. I couldn’t do anything around the house (I’m retired now). It’s very frustrating to lose control of your own life.”

Vester met with James Scott, DO, orthopedic surgeon at Bassett Medical Center. “He told me that I needed a total right knee replacement,” says Vester. “I felt comfortable with Dr. Scott. He was very kind and reassured me that after surgery I would be able to return to the activities I was unable to do.”

Following the procedure, Vester received physical therapy at home for four weeks before progressing to outpatient rehabilitation. “I was eager to heal,” says Vester. “It took time and patience. After surgery, the pain was mostly gone but I experienced stiffness. Physical therapy helped me work through this.”

“Recovery from knee replacement surgery requires diligence and a prescribed course of physical therapy,” Dr. Scott explains. “Rehabilitation helps patients regain full flexibility. Gerry did very well during his recovery, and within two months he had regained his independence.”

Vester was able to drive within six weeks. “When you reclaim your mobility, it’s a tremendous relief,” he says. “I’m enjoying my retirement to the fullest. I cook meals for my family, work in the yard on my tractor, and can finally ride my motorcycle without any pain.

“I highly recommend joint replacement at Bassett. My wife and I were treated with nothing but kindness and advanced care. Thanks to Dr. Scott and the staff at Bassett, I’m finally back to doing the things I love.”

Overcoming Debilitating Arthritis

Before undergoing hip surgery, Christine Harper suffered from arthritis for nearly two years. Everyday activities became difficult, and Harper, 69, could not stand up for more than a few minutes at a time. “It was absolutely debilitating,” says Harper. “I was bent over with a cane and could not do anything around the house. Just going up and down stairs was painful.”d64a0326-a662-4682-8a3f-c8a4bb44a7c1.jpeg

Harper was unable to host family get-togethers, an activity that means a lot to her. “My husband and I love hosting dinners,” she says. “Things I used to take joy in became intolerable.”

Harper attempted to manage her symptoms by limiting activity.“I was spending more and more time at home,” she says. “I put up with the pain. Then one day I said, ‘I have to do something about it.’ ” After meeting with James Scott, DO, orthopedic surgeon at Bassett Medical Center, Harper learned that she needed a hip replacement.

“I was surprised,” says Harper. “My pain was mostly in my right knee. Dr. Scott explained that the arthritis in my right hip compromised my balance.”

She underwent surgery in February 2015. “Chris did very well after surgery,” Dr. Scott says. “Her recovery included physical therapy two days a week, and within two months she was back to her regular activities.”

“I had immediate relief after surgery,” Harper says. “It was incredible. I wish I had done it sooner. I’m back to doing the things I love.”

Conquering Persistent Hip Pain

Patricia Soule, 56, has always enjoyed athletic activities. But when persistent hip pain began to hinder her movement, her active lifestyle was put on hold. “My pain was excruciating,” says Soule. “I couldn’t walk, I was sore, I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t even bend down to tie my shoes. I had distressing stiffness. This went on for two years, and I knew I had to seek help.cae9519c-266c-46f3-b831-eebb766aaed8.jpeg

The first time Soule met with Dr. Richman, she was devastated to learn that she needed a hip replacement. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I kept wondering what I could have done wrong to cause this condition. But he looked me in the eyes, and with a gentle voice reassured me that everything would be all right. I will never forget his compassion.”

Only four hours after surgery, Soule got out of bed and walked down the hall at Bassett Medical Center. “It was amazing,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to keep walking and I couldn’t wait to go home. My fear and sadness about my pain were gone. The relief was so immediate it brought tears to my eyes.”

Dr. Richman prescribed exercises for Soule to do at home while healing. She also followed a list of healthy foods that would provide the nourishment and energy she needed as she worked to regain her strength. “I did everything Dr. Richman told me to
do,” Soule says. “I ate well, slept well, did my exercises, and only a month after surgery I attended my god-daughter’s wedding and danced the night away. A few months later, I went to Italy and walked everywhere.

“I am forever grateful to Dr. Richman and the staff at Bassett. I finally have my life back.”


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One Atwell Road Cooperstown, NY 13326

607-547-3456 : 1-800-BASSETT (227-7388)