Since her early 40s, Denise Allen’s double-jointed knees had been diminishing her quality of life. As a mom, wife and manager of an ophthalmology shop, the Collegeville native knew something needed to give. “I wanted to stay social and have a quality of life that I knew I was
losing day-by-day from the pain,” she says. “Something as simple as a bike ride with my 10-year-old son was becoming too hard to handle.” Desperate to regain her strength and energy, she sought the advice of surgeon Richard Zamarin, M.D., of the Premier/Crozer-Keystone Orthopedics Partnership. Together, they determined the best plan of action to get her back to her old life. At first, Allen started with less-invasive treatment options like injections and medial meniscus repairs. Still, nothing provided the relief she was looking for, so she opted for a joint replacement instead. “The choice was mine; Dr. Zamarin never pressured me,” says Allen. “He said I would know when I was ready for the next step [surgery], and I knew I was.”
Early last year, Allen underwent her first knee replacement at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park and was up and walking within 12 hours. She says that’s when the real work began. “The doctors, nurses and therapists work hard to build your strength and mobility right away,” she says.
Once Allen was able to go up and down the stairs, bend her legs, and get in and out of the car, she was sent home to continue recovery on her own. “My biggest takeaway is that you shouldn’t have surgery if you’re not going to put in the work post-op,” she says. “You can’t take for granted what these medical professionals have given you—your life back. You have to put in work too.”
Today, Allen is more active than ever. She bikes with her son, walks her dog, and has a Hawaiian hiking excursion planned for this summer. “The change this surgery has made in my life is immeasurable,” she says. “I’m a better parent, spouse and person, just because I’m in a better frame of mind.”
She is now planning to return to Crozer-Keystone to have her other knee replaced, knowing full-well the dedicated care she’ll receive. “Dr. Zamarin and his whole team, from pre-op to the nurses and physical therapists, are incredible,” says Allen. “They treat you like family; you know you’re in good hands.”
Think you’re a candidate for joint replacement surgery? Here’s what you should think about before deciding:
“Before opting for surgery, patients should try anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and use a walker, bracing or other assistive devices,” says Dr. Zamarin.
“You shouldn’t jump to surgery as an easy way out,” says Dr. Zamarin. “It’s a serious operation with potential complications.”
“Preoperative patients need to follow up with their primary care physician and their dentist to make sure they are in optimal condition for surgery,” says Dr. Zamarin.
For more information on Crozer-Keystone Health System’s comprehensive orthopedic care, or to find a joint replacement surgeon, visit crozerkeystone.org/orthopedics.
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