With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.
Belinda McFerrin, 59, showed horses competitively for 12 years before moving to Little River, South Carolina, in 2021. She relocated to be closer to the beach and better enjoy her other hobbies, like deep sea fishing and golf, but remains passionate about horse riding.
“I rode horses competitively for many years -- dressage, stadium jumping and cross country -- but I quit competing last year to focus on other activities,” said Belinda. “I still take lessons once or twice a week, and I have taken on a new challenge by learning the Hunt-Seat style.”
Remaining active is important to Belinda because she struggles with a loose joint disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This condition weakens the connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments, that hold the body together. After having more than six surgeries to fix her partially dislocated kneecap, or knee patella subluxation, Belinda finally had a right total knee replacement in 2012. With patella subluxation, the kneecap still tracks in the groove of the joint, but it may feel uncomfortable or unsteady. The bone is unstable in the joint and out of place.
A few months after moving to the coast, Belinda established care with hip and knee specialist, Dr. Christopher Walsh of McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast, to help manage her ongoing bone and joint issues.
“My left knee began giving me trouble,” said Belinda. “I tried a few rounds of cortisone shots, but the swelling became overwhelmingly painful, and my kneecap continued popping out of place. I already had multiple surgeries on my left knee and did not want to undergo another procedure.”
After much discussion, Belinda decided to listen to Dr. Walsh’s recommendation and move forward with a total knee replacement. “Belinda’s left knee was rubbing together, bone on bone, as she walked,” said Dr. Walsh. “I explained to Belinda that robotic-assisted total knee replacement surgery would be a great option for her and would provide the most accuracy with the least trauma on the bone and tissue.”
Robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery utilizes real-time information and assists surgeons with precise placement of the knee implants based on the patient’s unique measurements and knee anatomy. The robot transforms a series of preoperative 2D X-rays into a digital, 3D replication of the patient’s anatomy which creates a plan to ensure greater accuracy of the implant fit.
“During robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery, the robot functions like a sophisticated GPS system, utilizing optical trackers attached to the patient’s leg to determine the exact position of the knee,” said Dr. Walsh. “The system can detect even the slightest movements and makes adjustments to ensure the patient’s surgical plan is maintained with excellent precision.”
Receiving this information made Belinda feel more secure in her decision to have total knee replacement surgery. She also liked knowing some of the benefits from this minimally invasive approach included smaller incisions, less post-operative pain and a shorter hospital stay.
Dr. Walsh performed Belinda’s robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery at McLeod Health Seacoast in December 2021. The procedure went so well that Belinda was released from the hospital the same day.
“Reflecting on my first total knee replacement, I stayed in the hospital for four days,” said Belinda. “That surgeon used staples to close my incision, and I developed an abscess. Dr. Walsh used invisible sutures and glue which have healed beautifully and made for a much better surgical experience.”
Belinda soon began physical therapy at McLeod Seacoast Rehabilitation Services to regain strength in her left knee.
“I had a great experience in physical therapy,” said Belinda. “My physical therapist Ami Patel always took extra steps to help ease my pain when my muscles were overworked.”
A few days after her final follow-up visit with Dr. Walsh, Belinda headed straight to the stables for a riding lesson. She could not wait any longer to get back onto the horses and pick up where she left off learning Hunt-Seat.
“I am amazed at how fast I have recovered from my robotic-assisted total knee replacement,” said Belinda. “Dr. Walsh is an excellent surgeon with a great bedside manner. He released me six weeks after my procedure and told me I could start taking riding lessons again. My joint disease has caused me to have many surgeries, but my robotic-assisted total knee replacement has been one of the easiest recoveries.”