More than 25 years ago, Carol Wadsworth of Lynnfield, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes joints to become inflamed and destroys the cartilage. When Wadsworth turned 50, her arthritis was so bad she lost the use of both of her knees, and for 10 years suffered excruciating pain. “The intensity of the pain was terrible, and it never let up,” said Wadsworth, wincing at the thought of it.
Now, thanks to Ira Evans, M.D
., an orthopedic surgeon at North Shore Medical Center, Wadsworth has the spring back in her step. In May of 2006 she had her right knee replaced, and nine months later the left. In each case, Dr. Evans used a minimally invasive implant designed for women. “This new knee device is contoured to respond to anatomical differences in women’s knees,” said Dr. Evans. In knee replacement, the damaged part of the joint is removed from the surface of the bones, and the surfaces are then shaped to hold a metal or plastic artificial joint. The artificial joint is attached to the thigh bone, shin and knee cap either with cement or a special material. When fit together, the attached artificial parts form the joint, relying on the surrounding muscles and ligaments for support and function.
For Wadsworth, having the procedure was not an easy decision. “My knees hadn’t bent in 10 years,” she explained. “I met with Dr. Evans three times so we could get to know each other. I knew if I was going to do this, I needed to have complete trust in my doctor and his team that I would make it through this. They all made me feel completely at ease.” Wadsworth says both surgeries were quick and pain free. Within 24 hours, she was up and walking. “I can do things I haven’t done since I was a kid,” said Wadsworth. “I’m waiting for the okay to ride horses and I’m already swimming nearly a mile each day. Best of all, I’m walking without pain.”
Weight loss was an added bonus for Wadsworth. Since she is able to exercise again, she has lost more than 30 pounds. “I always told myself, if I ever walk again I’m going to start walking and never stop. And that’s exactly what I’m doing,” she says.