Speedy Recovery

Go home with new knee hours after innovative implant protocol.

Robert enjoyed a rapid recovery from his outpatient joint replacement surgery.

When Robert Ramputi first teamed up with his older brother to start a commercial painting company, he was 16 years old and had never before held a paint brush. That didn’t keep their fledgling painting business from becoming one of the largest in Florida.

“We wound up getting a contract with a home builder and eventually painted just about everything north of the corner of Busch Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway,” says Robert, who sold that company in 1987, two years before launching another venture.

“My first wife was working for a guy who opened a bagel factory,” Robert explains. “He knew how to cook, but he didn’t know how to sell, so he asked me for some help. After two months, our sales went from $500 a week to almost $8,000 a week.”

Robert’s two triumphs in the business world were sandwiched around a devastating personal setback: a knee injury that ended his dream of playing professional football.

“I tried out for the Bucs, but I never made the team because I got hurt while training,” Robert relates.” I was running wind sprints and my foot went into a hole. I landed right on my knees, then fell on my back. After that, I wound up paralyzed for nine months.”

Robert’s back injury eventually healed to the point where he regained all mobility. His knees, though, were never the same. From the day of the fall, he has battled knee pain that became increasingly worse with each passing year.

Arthritis got in there, and about five years ago it really started to affect me,” notes Robert, 60. “My knees were so bad that I was getting cortisone and steroid shots and getting my knees drained of fluid every six months. Then every three months, and eventually each month. It got so bad that the effect of the shots wasn’t lasting two days, so I wound up having arthroscopic surgery twice on my right knee and once on my left.”

The surgeries didn’t do much to alleviate Robert’s knee pain either. After a few months, he was struggling yet again, and this time the pain became so bad he could no longer stand or walk after 8 p.m. on most days.

“I couldn’t even get myself up out of a chair,” Robert laments. “I had to go out and buy one of those chairs that lifts you up out of it. That’s how bad it was.”

Upon returning to his surgeon, Robert was told the only option left was a knee replacement. For that, the surgeon recommended a specialist: Philip Clifford, MD, at Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America.

Specialized Approach

Dr. Clifford is co-founder of the center, where he specializes in a surgical protocol for the replacement of knees and hips that eliminates the need for long, postoperative hospital stays.

“One of the factors that’s most unique about our protocol is the medicines we use,” Dr. Clifford explains. “One of those medicines is called Exparel®. It’s a long-lasting, non-opioid, local anesthetic that can last for two to three days.

“For knee replacement surgery, we also perform what’s called an adductor canal block. When you do that along with an injection of Exparel properly, it allows the patient to get up and move around faster following surgery.

“Another feature that’s unique about our protocol is the surgical technique we use. For example, with our knee replacement surgery, we’re not assaulting the muscle; we’re incising the capsule of the joint. That, in and of itself, means less trauma.

“The same is true of our hip replacement surgery. That too is a minimally invasive, muscle-sparing replacement procedure that results in less muscle trauma and less bleeding. And the less muscle trauma and bleeding you have, the better.

“The hip procedure is also done through a small incision, about three to five inches long. This results in less trauma, which allows the patient to get up and start moving just hours after surgery with no limitations. In fact, we encourage our patients to do just that.”

“My surgery went great, and I was back doing everything I want to do after just two weeks.” – Robert

Further expediting the healing process is the type of artificial joint Dr. Clifford implants. It is constructed to allow for faster recovery, one reason Dr. Clifford refers to it as “the best available.”

“With the vast majority of knee replacements, the plastic is fixed to the metal that goes into the tibia and is cemented in the tibia,” he says. “This implant is a rotating platform. That plastic part can swivel and rotate. That facilitates better and faster range of motion.

“Another important thing we do is spend a lot of time educating each patient before the surgery. We typically spend 45 minutes to an hour explaining the procedure, preparing them for the surgery and informing them of what they’ll need to do afterward.

“Not only that, but when our patients go home after surgery, they know that between 4 and 7 o’clock that night, we’ll be calling to check on them. It’s not them calling us; it’s us calling them. That level of patient care does not exist in many places these days.”

On the Road Again

Because his right knee was in worse condition than his left, Robert had his right knee replaced first. The surgery went so smoothly that Robert walked out of the surgery center within two hours of the procedure.

“When Dr. Clifford called me, he said, I went in there to check on you and you were gone,” Robert remembers. “I told him that I felt fine and was hungry, so I left. And 10 days later, I was back riding seven miles in 30 minutes on my bike.”

Robert replaced the left knee six weeks later. That’s a few weeks sooner than recommended, but Robert had enough stability in his right knee by then to absorb the impact.

“After the second surgery, I spent two days using a walker, which the doctor recommended, but I wasn’t in much pain at all when I was walking,” Robert reports. “Now, I’m out riding almost eight miles in 30 minutes on my bike, working out and feeling great.

“I went from not being able to walk after 8 p.m. to doing leg presses and leg curls and having no problem at all with that. My wife has been a nurse for 49 years and she looks at me sometimes and says, I still can’t believe you’re even walking again.

“This is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself because I see people at the gym who’ve had this done the conventional way, and they’re three months removed from surgery and they’re still in pain, still in therapy and can hardly move.

“My surgery went great, and I was back doing everything I want to do after just two weeks. I absolutely recommend Dr. Clifford and the Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America to anybody. They’re great.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
Print This Article