Back In The Game

Two knee replacement surgeries, one patient, zero signs of slowing down

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Lou Myers says despite two knee replacement surgeries, Mayo Clinic surgeons and researchers in Florida got him back to the game he loves quicker thanks to a more painless procedure.

Lou Myers prides himself in swinging easy on Florida's legendary golf links. But when knee problems cropped up at home and on the course, he needed replacements for both knees.

In the process, he became a one-man study for practice improvements at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

As an active retiree, Lou wasn't going to let his knee problems slow him down. Surgeons at Mayo Clinic performed Lou's first total knee replacement at age 80 and his second at 81.

During the time between Lou's two surgeries, Florida surgeons collaborated with experts in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery to reduce rehabilitation times and improve patient outcomes. The team studied patient outcomes data across Mayo's sites in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida and discovered that the method of pain control during the operation was an important factor in achieving the best results.

Lou's orthopedic surgeon, Courtney E. Sherman, M.D., says, "The center was able to show that by changing our practice, we can improve clinical outcomes, decrease pain, decrease length of stay, decrease cost and get people home."

Lou's first knee surgery was performed with a peripheral nerve block, which freezes the nerve that delivers sensation to the knee. This method is effective in providing a significant amount of pain relief, but sometimes increases a patient's recovery time. When it came time to do Lou's second knee, Dr. Sherman used the newer approach to pain control, called a periarticular injection, which delivers the numbing medicine inside the knee itself.

"The first knee, I had very little pain. The second knee, I had even less," Lou recalls.

Lou's outcomes reflect findings from the Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. He recovered faster, experienced less pain and even completed rehabilitation from the comfort of home.

Lou was also back on the course just two weeks after the second surgery and, without missing a step, says he's shaved a few strokes off his golf game.

"It was like a new lease on life," he says.

The Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery aims to find the best practices to ensure every patient is back doing what they love sooner. Support the center today!