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Increase In Revision Surgeries

December 19, 2013, 6:17 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Increase In Revision Surgeries

Some people suffer with pain, infection and other health problems after having their knee or hip replacement.

And while many people simply live with discomfort for years, there is a way to get relief with something known as revision surgery.

51-year-old Pamela Tanner has to walk with a walker and struggles to get around, but she's feeling a lot better today than she did nine months ago.

"I planned my funeral. I was going to die, no doubt about it," Tanner said.

The Colome woman had hip replacement surgery in 2009. Instead of feeling better, she continued to get worse.

"I couldn't sit up. I was sick to my stomach. I was sweating all the time. It was awful," Tanner said.

This spring, Tanner met with Dr. Dustin Bechtold, who diagnosed her with two staph infections.

"It ate all the bone in my leg and pelvis," Tanner said.

Bechtold decided to do a revision hip replacement surgery on Tanner.

"Often it involves one or several parts being removed or reconstructed," Sanford Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Dustin Bechtold said.

Bechtold says there are several reasons to do a revision hip or knee replacement surgery. First, if patients have an infection, as in Tanner's case, surgery is an option. Patients also might have repetitive dislocation of a hip replacement, or instability with a knee replacement. Others need a revision surgery if part of their original replacement fails.

"Some of the older plastics over time cause a biological response with the little plastic particles. People can actually lose bone around their implants. That can happen for years before they even know," Bechtold said.

Many people don't get a revision hip replacement surgery done because they don't know they have a problem or that there's a solution.

After years of suffering, Tanner is glad she had the revision surgery. She's still dealing with bone loss and is starting therapy, but she says she feels ten times better than before.

"I can manage. I can make it. Five months ago I didn't think I was going to. I can make it now," Tanner said.

While revision surgery is a good option for those having hip or knee replacement problems, the surgery can be more challenging than the first replacement procedure.

That's why doctors recommend people take good care of their hip and knee replacements by staying in shape and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as avoiding high impact activities, like running.

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