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Back on the Green After Partial Knee Replacement

A Golfer's Quick Recovery

Tom Olson, 78, St. Charles, Illinois, was golfing when he noticed he was having trouble moving between the tee box and his golf cart. A volunteer at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, Tom turned to Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics for a consultation. After a referral from Sanjeev Bhatia, MD, he eventually met with Orthopaedic Surgeon Edward Grant Sutter, MD at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

A Better Approach

Tom's diagnosis was osteoarthritis of an isolated area of the knee, and after an examination, Dr. Sutter knew he was an ideal candidate for a partial knee replacement. The procedure is not right for everyone, Dr. Sutter says, and the decision depends on the location of the arthritis and other mechanical factors.

A partial knee replacement allows the surgeon to target the part of your knee damaged by arthritis and then replace that diseased part while sparing the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it. Because it maintains the healthy part of the knee, "this replacement can help you maintain a knee that really feels like your own," explains Dr. Sutter.

Another benefit is that partial replacement typically allows for faster recovery and rehabilitation. That was a particular advantage for Tom, who is very active.

"It was important for us to get him back to staying active, and to do so in a reasonable amount of time," says Dr. Sutter.

An Impressive Recovery

Leading up to the procedure, Tom had not only been active with golf and volunteering, but he had also been practicing water aerobics. So, following the procedure, which went smoothly with no issues, he was ready to tackle rehabilitation. The combination of his good physical shape plus the less invasive procedure led to a quick recovery.
"When my name was called at my follow-up appointment two weeks later, I popped right up out of my seat," Tom recalls. "Everyone's jaws dropped open, and they asked, 'Didn't you just have surgery?'"

Tom credits his care team's dedication and his pre-surgery physical strength with helping him get back to the activities he enjoys.

"Northwestern Medicine acts a team, and they made this as easy as possible for me," he says. "I even got back out and golfed after my recovery, and I played some of the best golf I had played in a long time."