Diagnosis: Knee Pain - Arthritis
Treatment: Computer-navigated knee replacement
Fifty-three-year-old Naomi Marquez-Blake has spent 23 years in the ministry, leading a congregation that has kept her on her feet, and on the go, seven days a week.
She’d battled knee problems over the years, then a fall showed arthritis had taken a devastating toll on her right knee.
Dr. Craig McAllister of ProOrtho recommended a total knee replacement – a minimally invasive, computer-navigated knee replacement.
This procedure uses miniaturized instruments and surgical strategies developed at EvergreenHealth, many by Dr. McAllister himself.
Combined with the precision of computer navigation, it yields groundbreaking results.
EvergreenHealth was the first hospital in the state, and among the first in the country, to offer the revolutionary surgery back in 2003.
Even now, many years later, Dr. McAllister says, “The truth is, almost nobody gets the minimally invasive, computer-navigated knee replacement unless they come to EvergreenHealth. It’s what EvergreenHealth is known for.”
As part of her ministry, Naomi visits hospitalized congregation members, including three who had total knee replacements in the weeks before hers.
They were in the hospital three to four days, then in a care facility for an additional two weeks. One woman even showed Naomi her 15-inch scar.
“I was horrified,” she recalls. “Dr. McAllister and I never talked about a 15-inch scar. We never talked about four days in the hospital.”
That’s because, Dr. McAllister reassured her, she’d be going home the next day.
And the scar? It would be just 4 inches long, thanks to the minimally invasive techniques, which also meant less blood loss, less pain and a faster recovery.
And that’s exactly what she got.
Naomi’s surgery was on a Tuesday, and she was back at church, preaching, the following Sunday.
“It was amazing,” she marvels. “My recovery was very different from that of the people in my church who’d had the traditional knee-replacement surgery. And things got better weekly – dramatically better every week.”
Dr. McAllister has now done more than 1,200 knee-replacement surgeries using the same state-of-the-art techniques he used with Naomi Marquez-Blake.
“To have a knee that feels smooth and stable and goes through a whole range of motion – that’s the Holy Grail of knee replacement,” he states. “And then to have that knee be well aligned and have it last on the order of 20 years – well, you can’t get much better than that.”
The rest of the country is beginning to notice.
“The prestigious Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery published back-to-back articles confirming that computer navigation is the gold standard for knee replacements,” Dr. McAllister shares, “and EvergreenHealth had been doing it for years.”
Visiting surgeons come to EvergreenHealth to learn these advanced techniques.
Dr. McAllister points out that providing these breakthrough techniques takes a great deal of commitment from both the surgeons, to learn the new techniques, and the hospital, to provide the instruments and train the surgical staff.
As for Naomi Marquez-Blake, she couldn’t be happier. “I had a wonderful outcome with this knee. I’m so grateful.”