Bilateral Knee : September 19, 2011

The bone on bone rubbing was enough to bring Chris Naylor to her knees. She suffered from severe arthritis in both knees. It made simple moves difficult.

“I could not do stairs like a normal person. I would take one step at a time with one foot bringing the other foot up.”

The arthritis was so bad it disfigured her leg.

“This particular leg - it went down straight on the upper leg and the arthritis did enough damage where it angled outward and I no longer had a straight leg,” says Chris.

Chris turned to orthopedic surgeon Ed Humbert.

“His first comment when he looked at both knees he turned around and he looked at me away from the x-ray and he says you have two knees that hurt very bad and I said yes I do.”

She prepared herself for bilateral knee surgery.

There are two types of bilateral knee replacements. The first is a ‘simultaneous’ where both knees are done at once. The other is ‘staged’ which means surgeries are done on different days.

“If the patient can do one knee, and is safely walking without a cane or a walker and off of their pain medications and doing well with their knee that we’ve replaced, they’re ready. But the four to six week mark is really time where you’d say we’d consider doing the other one,” says Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Ed Humbert with Lee Memorial Health System.

So six weeks apart, Chris had both knees replaced.

“We don’t cut out the knee joint. We really resurface a few millimeters of the damaged cartilage and bone, and cap the end of the femur bone, the tibia bone, and the patella. Those are the three bones that get resurfaced with the knee replacement,” says Dr. Humbert.

The surgeries helped her get back on her feet. With an added bonus of correcting that crooked leg.

“I pulled up the sheets an I looked down and it still gets me emotional now because it was straight and I have not had a straight leg for many, many years,” says Chris.

With her pain behind her, Chris is moving on with life.