Charisse Green (Knee)

charisseCharisse Green (Knee)

Back in the Swing of Things

Charisse Green is a woman with a zest for life. An active matriarch, she loves her children unconditionally, all five of them. The operative word here, however, is active because, as Cherisse says, “You can’t be down and off your feet when you have an eight-year-old.”

Before her surgery Charisse felt both the pain and the psychological limitations that come with it. Even the most mundane activities were becoming impossible. But it wasn’t just her body. The scope of her whole world was shrinking. “I felt so limited that my mind wanted to do something and in my heart I wanted to do something, but physically it just could not happen. Between the swelling and the limited mobility in the bending of my knee, getting up off a seat was even a chore.”

She tried alternatives to surgery like drugs but they had dubious benefits with side effects that were making her as uncomfortable as the pain. So she sees her surgery as an alternative with many positive factors. “I’m medication free. And that’s a good thing ’cause you worry about your liver, you worry about your kidneys, you worry about this, your bladder, whatever.”

After years of enduring the pain she decided that a total knee replacement was the way to go. First she had to find a doctor she could trust, but fortunately she didn’t have to look far. Her sister had had her hips replaced and the surgeon she used made a strong recommendation. Almost immediately after the operation Charisse reported that her pain was gone. She quickly started on a program of rehabilitation, but she mainly credits the skill of her surgeon and the design of the Stryker knee with her positive response to surgery. “I would say it took me two weeks before I was back to full movement. I was walking up and down the stairs. It’s been a very quick recovery. And between my cooperation, the skill of the surgeon, and the piece itself, it’s a very good combination. It’s a trifold thing, and without one with the other, you’re not going be where I am today.”

So just where exactly is Charisse today? Happily reengaged with her active life. “I can pick things up, bring my laundry up and down, I can stand, I can wash dishes and scrub the floors. I can take down my blinds, I can climb up on a stepladder. I had the surgery March 30th — May 22nd I’m on the dance floor boogying to disco music.”

She even goes so far as to advise those who might be considering a similar procedure. “This is going to get you out of the wheelchair. It’s going to get you out of the bed. It’s going to get you out of the wheelchair and keep you off the crutches, the walker. Go ahead and do it!”

Since the surgery, Charisse has lost weight, become active again, and has her life back with a whole new positive attitude. She has this to say by way of thanks to the people at Stryker for the difference they’ve made in her life. “I could do everything I wanted to do, so you guys, you’re good guys, keep up the good work. Thank you.”

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Jay Litty (Knee)

littyJay Litty (Knee)

New Knee Implant Improves Golfer’s Life

After injuring his knee while skiing in 1968, golfer Jay Litty went through three operations to remove cartilage and seven arthroscopies to “clean out” bone chips and scar tissue. By the mid ’90s, he was lucky to be walking — his knee was “totally gone.”

Even when he lost use of his left leg and could barely get in and out of a car, Jay postponed implant surgery for another three years. “I never was sure about it,” he says. “If I’d have known the benefits, I would have done it a long time ago. My quality of life has changed so dramatically.”

In fact, Jay’s recovery has been so spectacular, his surgeon calls him his “poster child patient.” Three days after he received his Stryker Orthopaedics Duracon® knee, he walked himself down two flights of stairs to rehabilitation. Three intensive days later, he went home. Four weeks of long hours in outpatient rehab prepared him to hit golf balls again. On day 66, he played an 18-hole game without a cart; 30 days later he won a member/member, 36-hole tournament with his surgeon, Dr. Mark Powers, as his partner. Jay, who had continued to play daily with a swing that bypassed his left leg, is thrilled to get his old game back. “I tell friends who have bad knees that waiting is not the answer,” he says. “Waiting sends your quality of life backwards. I want to go forward.”

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Christine Ricciardi (MIS Knee)

ricciardiChristine Ricciardi (MIS Knee)

Nurse Back on Her Feet Thanks to Minimally Invasive Surgery

Christine Ricciardi is a “people person.” You see it immediately in the sparkle in her eyes and the zest for life she radiates. But this professional nurse and full-time aerobics instructor was not always able to enjoy her family and friends the way she can today. “I was depressed for many years because I had to suffer with pain and pain medications.”

The problem was her knee. Painful arthritis was making life difficult and unpleasant for her. “If I was in the car for an hour, my knee would lock up on me. And it would be embarrassing to get out of a car because everybody had to help me. I couldn’t sit on a beach and on a blanket. Somebody would have to pull me up. I felt like this old woman.”

To feel this way was out of character for Christine, and she didn’t like it. So when she heard about a new kind of surgery that was minimally invasive, she became very interested. “I had heard about this new minimally invasive surgery, the four-inch incision. I had a friend who had the surgery, and I saw how fast she recovered. And so that kind of clinched it then. I said okay. I just have to set a date and do it. It’s something I have to do for myself.”

The decision is one Christine has never regretted. Looking back on her life, however, she wonders why she didn’t do it sooner. Immediately after her MIS surgery, she was up and about, coping for herself. “I was up and out of bed the next morning. I handled it all myself because it really wasn’t that hard. It wasn’t that painful.”

But the real improvement was in her quality of life. The way she related to her family and the way her family related to her. Once she could get around on her own, without pain, things looked up for everybody. Even family meals, which had been a chore, became a pleasant and fulfilling focal point of her days again.

Today Christine feels great. “Like I said, I don’t have any pain. I’m not depressed. I feel renewed. I’m really excited about getting back into a routine at the gym.”

When asked if she had any advice to give, she was quite forthcoming. “I’d say go for it. I’d say go for it and go for the surgery. Make sure you do all your research and get a really good surgeon that knows what they’re doing … because there’s just a world of difference.”

A Stryker knee coupled with minimally invasive surgery has been a powerful combination for Christine Ricciardi. Today she’s upbeat and happily living the life of a professional nurse and beloved family member. And she’s doing it without the pain of degenerative arthritis.

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Dave Edwards (Knee)


Dave Edwards (Knee)

Passionate Outdoorsman Gets His Active Life Back

“One day I was up in Alba skiing in two feet of fresh powder on a beautiful sunny day, and I couldn’t even finish a run, my knee hurt so badly.” Dave Edwards is a passionate outdoorsman who especially loves the thrill of skiing, fishing, and pushing life to the edge. But when pain forced him off the slopes, it was time for Dave to take a look at getting his knee joint replaced. “The pain got so intense, I just couldn’t do any of the activities I wanted to do, and for me that’s not living anymore.”

Dave noticed the improvement immediately after his operation. “The moment I woke up from surgery, I noticed the arthritis pain I’d been suffering all along was gone.” Because Dave had previous work done on the knee, his recovery was a little more demanding than most, but Dave toughed it out. “I just knew I had to hang in there.” And he’s glad he did.

Now recovered, Dave is thankful to have his active life back. “To just walk in the stream when I’m fishing used to kill me. Now it’s pleasant again.”

Dave has learned to rely on his new Stryker knee and is quite pleasantly surprised by the strength and functionality. “It’s become my strong leg rather than my weak leg.”

In fact, the surgery was so successful, he is now considering having his other knee replaced. “I’m quite impressed with the Stryker knee itself.”

Just like Jack Nicklaus, Dave is quite pleased to have his life back. “I’m back to the level of activity I’ve always enjoyed.”

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Remmer Schuetz (Knee)

Remmer Schuetz (Knee)

Auctioneer Sold on New Stryker Knees

Seventy-year-old Remmer Schuetz is not a man who sits on his laurels. But after 15 years of suffering from knee pain, that’s just what the Dundee, IL, resident had resigned himself to doing. An active auctioneer and expert restorer of antique tractors, Remmer became accustomed to keeping his eye out for a nearby chair. “My knees were worn out from years of abuse — too much hard work. It got to the point where I would just drop. All I could do was look for a place to sit down. I was always looking for a place to sit down — it hurt just to stand up,” explained Remmer.

“When I could hardly walk, and it got to the point where it was slowing me down to nothing, I knew I had to do something. It was no way to live. So you start asking everyone you see who’s had joint replacement what their experience was like. My neighbor had it done with Dr. Schroeder and had an excellent experience, so I went to see him.” Dr. Schroeder suggested partial knee replacement to rid just the diseased portion of Remmer’s knee. “You’ve got to trust your doctor and like your doctor. Dr. Schroeder explained everything to me and didn’t use any terminology that would have left me confused. I’m just a farm boy who’s worked in dirt and iron all my life, but when he was through showing me the X-ray and explaining what he wanted to do, I understood everything.”

After undergoing a successful Stryker EIUS® Uni Knee System procedure on his right knee, he went back to get his left knee done less than a year later. “I had my surgery on a Friday at 7 a.m. and was home by 4 p.m. That Monday I went to see my surgeon who removed my brace. Tuesday I threw my walker away. Wednesday I threw my cane away. The following Friday I moderated two auctions and felt great.”

In addition to auctioneering, Remmer has over 50 Case tractors with the oldest being from 1918 to the newest, which is from 1963. Through his skills and passion, all of his tractors run perfectly well. To restore these antiques, Remmer is constantly bending and squatting, which had been painful for him before he underwent partial knee replacement.

Moderating three auctions a month where he sells anything and everything, Remmer was used to standing all day long. Even when he was in pain he never missed one. “I would just grit my teeth and go out there. I would sit if I had to. Now I can go to an auction and be on my feet from 7 in the morning to 7 at night and not be in pain. I’m not like I was when I was 20, but I’m 70. I farm a bit, bale hay, load hay, and drive tractors. I still put in 12-hour days. I’m active, and I am no longer in pain.”

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Brenda Jackson (Knee)

Brenda Jackson (Knee)

From Falling to Strolling: EUIS® Knee Puts New Spring in 51-Year-Old’s Step

Ever since she broke her kneecap at age 13, Brenda Jackson’s knee has been a problem. By her mid 30s, it was a constant annoyance. Through her 40s, her knee would swell, pop, lock, cramp, and often give out — a potentially dangerous situation. When, at 51, her knee suddenly let go and she hit her head against a screw on the basement wall, she ended up with three stitches and a firm date for implant surgery.

Her EIUS® unicondylar, or partial, knee from Stryker Orthopaedics has her back in higher heels and taking on stairs with confidence for the first time in years. “I used to be able to hear myself walking,” says Brenda. “It was like somebody gritting their teeth and it really got on my nerves.” Now, she is walking quietly, painlessly, and in stylish shoes she can actually fit into since the swelling went away.

Brenda had put off surgery until she could no longer stand the pain or risk falling again and not getting up. Now, she wonders what took her so long. She says she would tell anyone in her situation to “go for it.” She’s glad she did.

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Dolores Bush (Knee)

Dolores Bush (Knee)

Arthritic Knees Get Scorpio® Treatment — Full Speed Ahead!

Sixty-two-year-old Dolores Bush had always had a “little problem” with her knees. For a while, twice-yearly cortisone shots seemed to keep her advancing arthritis at bay. But when she began taking regular doses of Advil just to get through the day and more to bowl at night, her husband, Charlie, a team leader in the Stryker Orthopaedics Technical Services area, convinced her to investigate further.

When a surgeon told her both knees were now severely arthritic, bone-on-bone, and that one had an inch-long gap, she was stunned. “I had no idea my knees were that bad,” says Dolores. “You just learn to live with the pain. I wasn’t even thinking of knee replacement.”

After discussing with family — including her 28-year-old daughter, Nicole, and 39-year-old son, Charlie, who works in Stryker’s Spine division — she scheduled surgery for bilateral Scorpio® total knee replacements. Waking up without pain was her first sign of good things to come. After several months of therapy, she is back to driving, walking without a cane, working, and, maybe most importantly, bowling with her team.

For Charlie, his wife’s progress is both personally and professionally rewarding. “Over 30 years of working in implant manufacturing, I’ve always felt I was having a positive impact on someone’s life and well-being,” says Charlie. Now he knows for sure.

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Errol Smith (Knee)

Errol Smith (Knee)

More Movement, More Quickly, Less Pain: A Winning Equation for Minimally Invasive Total Knee Recipient

Now that 62-year-old Errol Smith has had minimally invasive total knee surgery, he can’t imagine any other way. After recovering from his June 2004 Scorpio® implant much more quickly and with less pain than his other knee in 1999, he predicts minimally invasive becoming the way of the future.

The first few months made the difference. “Once the first knee healed, it was great,” says Errol. “But with a much smaller incision, I didn’t need as much pain medication, and my hospital stay was two days versus five. I was able to walk on my knee immediately after waking up and do a lot of things sooner.”

For instance, three months post-surgery he joined his wife, a military officer stationed in Kuwait, for “R&R” in Europe, where they hiked trails and walked through pedestrian-friendly cities. A retired teacher and publishing house editor, Errol now concentrates on remodeling his house and making the most of all of his surgeries, including a double heart bypass.

“I ought to be in good shape for a while if I just maintain it,” he says. “It was hard with my aching knee. Now I can use a cross trainer and walk at least nine holes of golf.” He adds, “I tell people that nature’s not going to reverse it. Shark pills and other ‘natural’ treatments will not reverse the damage, whether it’s from an injury, old age, or osteoarthritis. The sooner you have joint replacement surgery the more quickly you can recover. Why wait?”

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.

Judy Gigliotti (Knee)

Judy Gigliotti (Knee)

The Difference Stryker Knees Make

Most individuals have a passion in life; for Judy Gigliotti it’s the pleasure and enjoyment she derives from spending time in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Two of Judy’s favorite wilderness activities include mountain hiking and fly-fishing with her husband.

In 1992, Judy began to experience discomfort in her knees. She tolerated this pain until she could no longer enjoy her hobbies. Total knee replacements were recommended, and Judy had Johnson & Johnson PFC® knees implanted. Judy did well with her replaced knees and was able to resume her outdoor activities.

In late 1999, Judy began to experience discomfort in one of her replaced knees and scheduled an appointment to meet with one of Colorado Springs’ orthopaedic surgeons, Dr. William Ciccone II of the Bone and Surgery Center in Colorado. After evaluating Judy, he determined that she had worn out her original poly insert to such an extent that significant osteolysis (bone loss) had set in. Dr. Ciccone determined that immediate intervention was needed. If the original total knee was not replaced, she could suffer a debilitating fracture. Judy was again scheduled for surgery.

In just a few months, after extensive rehabilitation and effort, Judy was walking around unaided by a cane or crutches. By the fifth month, Judy had regained full mobility with virtually no limp. Judy claims she has as much flexibility as she ever had. To test her progress, this 67-year-old hiked a mile and a half up the Mount Crested Butte ski area in Western Colorado and began fly-fishing once again. Five months after her revision surgery, Judy has been reunited with her passion, the streams of the Rocky Mountains and all they have to offer.

Here’s what Judy had to say about her experience: “I am very happy with the result of my new knee and am extremely grateful to the people of Stryker Orthopaedics for developing this wonderful device that has allowed me to enjoy the things I like to do again.”

Results not typical and may vary by individual. Not all patients will reach the same activity level.