Pomerene Hospital Blog
Amber signed up for the race of her life; a half-marathon that required deep conviction to conquer the hilly course. She had trained with tenacity, and prepared for the day knowing she would be carrying her body 13 plus miles.
Early on race morning, she stepped from her car with tears in her eyes. Emotions grasped her insecurities presenting the question of, "Am I Worthy of Being Here?" The anxiety was almost too much as she observed lean athletes jogging the parking lot to warm up for the race.
She was so fearful of the task ahead, that she wanted to fall down and fake an injury to excuse her from the race. Doing that would be like eating rice crispy squares when no one was watching; somehow cheating on herself.
Amber knew she must fully commit. It was not a frivolous decision of simply half-showing up on race day. She had to journey deep within herself, and drum up her courage. It was a requirement.
Whether you are simply in the journey to a more fit body, or contemplating signing up for a racing event beyond your current comfort zone, there are 9 key strategies that can help you get out of your negative head, into your internal stride and reach your running goals.1. Change Your Inner Voice
Build yourself up with continual positive affirmations by choosing praise over negating inner language. If doubt creeps in, discard it immediately. Believe in yourself at all costs.
2. Commit to Training
Sign up for a race as the intended dangling carrot. Going our for a casual walk or easy run as part of your weight loss regimen can be fleeting. Whereas training for race day will help you to commit on a deeper level.
3. Find the Parallels
Think about your run or walk training as a metaphor for your life. The goals you have already conquered finishing school or reaching for the next level in your profession are similar to winning your fit body.
Challenging hills can represent the obstacles you have overcome. Don't run or walk a different route to avoid them, shift your mindset that you can conquer anything that comes your way. Finishing a hard run or walk, even though it rocked you to the core, is a good thing for your spirit.
4. Prove Yourself Right
Create a strategy for your runs or walks. If just starting out, challenge yourself to run or walk to the next tree or electrical pole. Each time your run or walk that same route, go further. Set a specific landmark as your goal, and prove to yourself that you can make it. As you advance, have courage to push beyond your self-imposed limitations.
5. Remind Yourself Why
Write down your favorite affirmation or word on your body. If you are choosing to lose weight in order to be a better example to your child, write their name down where you can see it if you run or walk. Think up a great phrase that inspires you and write it across your knuckles. Here are some great ideas to get you started:
- Because I can
- Doing it for (insert name)
- It makes me a better mom/dad
- I deserve to be happy
- Every step gets me close to my goal
Don't expect to run like Wonder Woman or walk like a supermodel from the get-go. As in every new venture, there is a learning curve. Know from the start, wherever you are is further than the day before. You will be surprised how quickly you progress over a three-month period. Log your runs or walk; record your distance, time and how you felt about the run or walk. Review often to measure your progress.
7. Prepare Your Body
If your training is less than one hour there is no need to carb load or fuel for the run. To burn fat, eat plenty of slow-burning carbs (vegetables) and always accompany with a good, lean protein. Eat your carb meals (whole grains, fruits) only after you exercise to reload your glycogen stores.
8. Run on Clouds
Use your mind to be light on your feet. Think about your feet hitting the ground as if they are softly running on cushioning clouds. With purpose, run lightly, and focus on striking with your mid-foot rather than your heel.
9. Find a Community
Gather up your friends or join a running or walking group. You will progress more quickly with people that challenge you to step-it-up. Be vocal about your new goal to create a built-in support system around you. You are less likely to let yourself down when you know others are counting on your to follow through.
If you have a specific fitness goal or need a new level of challenge to your exercise program, join us for the 20th Annual Fall Trail Run in beautiful Holmes County, Ohio on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Race day options include a half marathon, 10K, 5K and a 2-mile fun walk. Register here! Let the goal-setting begin!
Blog Written by: Lyndee Zeigler, Exercise Specialist at Pomerene Kinetics
So it is finally warm (ish... it’s June 6th and the high today was mid 60s, but in Ohio, this is not unexpected). Even on a cool and cloudy day however, you should be thinking about sun safety. UV rays are still a concern on cloudy days and it only takes 15 minutes of exposure to cause skin damage.
Here are some tips for staying safe this summer.
- Shade is your best bet. Find a shady spot under a tree, umbrella, or other structure while enjoying the outdoors.
- Wear clothing with UV protection. Even a plain T-shirt is better than nothing.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat or a ball cap. But remember your ears with a ball cap!
- Wearing sunglasses reduces your risk of cataracts and permanent eye damage.
- Wear sunscreen and apply often, especially after swimming or sweating. Your sunscreen should be at least 15 SPF. What does SPF mean? A SPF of 15 means
you can be in the sun 15 times longer before burning. So a SPF of 70 is even better and will protect you longer. Make sure your makeup and lip
balm also contain SPF.
What to do if you get burned?
- Take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen for discomfort.
- Increase your water intake.
- Try a cool bath or cool rags on the burned areas.
- Use a soothing cream or aloe on burn.
- Do not break blisters.
Seek medical attention if:
- Your burns are severe and greater than 15% of your body.
- You are dehydrated.
- You have a fever.
- You have extreme pain for greater than 48 hours.
Hope you have a safe and fun summer!
Blog written by: Beth Amicone, APRN, FNP-C
In February we celebrate National Heart Month. We want to educate our community about the risks of heart disease, how to prevent it, and how to keep your heart happy and healthy! Pomerene's Cardiology Team answered some of the most commonly asked questions about heart health:
Can you explain what blood pressure numbers mean? What do the top and bottom numbers represent?
Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The top (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The bottom (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the top number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease. However, elevated systolic (top number) or diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure alone may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure has numbers that are within the optimal range of less than 120/80 mmHg. The early stage of high blood pressure is considered Prehypertension. Prehypertension is when your blood pressure is consistently in the range of 120-139/80-89 mmHg. Consistently being in this range makes it more likely for you to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it. Hypertension is when your blood pressure is consistently greater than 140/90 mmHg. With consistent hypertension, your doctor is likely to talk to you about lifestyle changes and will possibly prescribe a medication to control your blood pressure. It is important to take blood pressure medications regularly as prescribed. Stopping suddenly can be dangerous.
Hypertension that is left uncontrolled or undetected can lead to a number of health problems:
Heart Attack, Stroke, Heart Failure, Kidney Disease or Failure, Vision Loss, Sexual Dysfunction, Angina (Chest Pain), and/or Peripheral Artery Disease.
Lifestyle changes that can be made to lower your blood pressure include:
- Choose heart-healthy foods
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Control stress
How does the heart work and can you explain how the heart can bounce back from injury or disease?
We only have one heart. That heart needs to be protected and “loved”. The heart is made up of special muscle tissue. Because it is continuously working throughout an entire lifetime without any rest, the heart muscle is unique. The heart muscle cells have the ability to work together as a team and maintain a rhythm. This rhythm allows for blood to flow throughout the body carrying oxygen and nutrients to the organs and cells. If there is a blockage or heart attack (lack of proper blood flow to an area of the heart) that part of the heart muscle could be damaged. It is possible for the heart to heal by forming scar tissue. Even if a part of the heart is injured the rest of the heart will work. In this case the heart may be weaker and pump less efficiently. If the blockage was detected before permanent damage was done it is possible to restore blood flow to that part of the heart. Treatment and lifestyle changes can prevent or limit further damage.
How do I know when to see a doctor about my heart?
If you are concerned about your blood pressure readings, take your blood pressure at the same time everyday for a week or two. Keep a log of these readings and show them to your doctor. Your doctor can then address your concern with the data you provide.
A hypertensive (high blood pressure) crisis is a medical emergency. If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/110 mmHg, wait five minutes and test again. If your readings are still unusually high, call 911 or report to the emergency room immediately. Reporting to the emergency room is especially important if you are also experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, vision changes or difficulty speaking.
If you are having concerns about the possibility of having heart disease, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor. Some people can experience more subtle symptoms that turn out to be heart blockages. Some of these symptoms include increased fatigue and shortness of breath over a period of time.
Having chest pain or discomfort (often involve pressure, tightness or heaviness) may be a signal to you that something is emergently wrong with your heart. Other symptoms may also indicate something is wrong. These other symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, neck, back or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
If you experience any chest discomfort and/or other symptoms, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately. If it is a heart attack you are having, the less time you are having the heart attack results in less muscle that can be damaged.
For someone with heart disease, how can exercise be beneficial?
Exercise helps your body to:
- Lower the risk of having another cardiac event
- Lower risk for stroke
- Improve muscle strength
- Increase endurance
- Increase flexibility
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Burn calories, which helps reduce weight
- May raise good cholesterol called HDL while lowering total cholesterol
- Improve circulation to prevent blockage in leg arteries called peripheral vascular disease
- Maintain bone density
- Increase energy
- Enhance sleep
- Lower stress levels
- Raise self-esteem
- Improve mood
What are some “heart healthy” foods and nutritional tips?
We recommend following the American Heart Association’s recommendations for heart-healthy foods. Those 10 tips will keep you on the right track to a healthy heart.
Eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Replace high-calorie
foods with fruits and vegetables.
Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
Choose poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways without added saturated and trans fat. If you choose to eat meat, look for
the leanest cuts available and prepare them in healthy and delicious ways.
Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week, especially fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring).
Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products.
Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
Limit saturated fat and trans fat and replace them with the better fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. If you need to lower your blood cholesterol,
reduce saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s about 13 grams of saturated
Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per
day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further. If you can’t meet these goals right now, even
reducing sodium intake by 1,000 mg per day can benefit blood pressure.
If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man.
Written by: Marcia Bitner, RN, BSN, Pomerene Cardiac Rehab Coordinator
Pomerene Cardiology Team
This time of year is especially tough for hitting weight-loss goals. Studies have shown Americans gain the most weight between Halloween and New Year’s adding about 0.7% to their frame on average.
For an average man weighing 195.7 pounds, that equates to 1.4 pounds. So if you’re already above your goal weight, be realistic with yourself: Instead of focusing on trying to lose weight during the holidays, focus on not gaining additional weight. If you wind up dropping a few pounds with this mindset, great! Consider it icing on the cake.
When it comes to weight loss, maintenance is a victory in itself as it can sometimes be harder than losing in the first place. Here are some tried-and-true weight-maintenance tips to use during the holiday season:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT CAUSED YOU TO GAIN THE WEIGHT
Knowledge is power and the best way to prevent repeating past mistakes is to reflect on where you may have gone offtrack. Did you fail to prioritize your workouts? Did you start eating dinner later? Have you been snacking more than usual? Did you stop logging your food?
The key here is not to beat yourself up but use this reflection as an opportunity to make better decisions going forward.
MAKE YOUR HOME AND WORK A SAFE SPACE
In most cases, you’re in control of the food in your home, so get rid of potential landmines in the kitchen! A renowned trainer said, “If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”
So, if you know you have a propensity to snack on candy at night, keep it out of your kitchen. If you find yourself constantly raiding a coworker’s junk food jar, then start bringing in healthy snacks to keep at your desk or in the communal snack area.
Healthy habits are contagious, so your coworkers will probably appreciate it, too! Plus, if you have healthy food at home you can start meal prepping and bringing lunch to work or school, making it much easier to log your meals and stay on track.
GET MOVING (EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS)
It’s sounds super basic, but whenever you have the opportunity to add activity to your day, take it. Take the stairs, set up a walking meeting, go to the coffee shop that’s a couple blocks further and walk around the building (in the hallways or hit the streets) instead of spending 10 minutes on Instagram or Facebook at your desk. Schedule workouts on your calendar so they don’t fall by the wayside. The holidays are NOT the time to stop exercising altogether.
Next time you are watching “This Is Us” (Beth and Randall are #CoupleGoals) or any TV show, do some pushups or crunches. The workout will go by faster because you’ll be distracted and it will also prevent you from wanting to snack.
GO INTO HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES WITH A GAME PLAN
Be proactive in prepping for holiday festivities by scheduling a morning workout, hydrating throughout the day and eating filling, high-fiber foods during the day so you don’t do a face-dive into the holiday spread when you arrive.
Something I always do is grab a healthy snack before I head to a party. (Did you know a single apple has 5 grams of fiber?). Being proactive with a game plan can help keep you in control.
And remember, the holidays should be fun! They often come with travel, food and family, so don’t forget to enjoy this time … but they can be a tough time to focus on losing weight, so if you find yourself starting at a disadvantage, shift your focus to maintenance mode, which sets you up for less frustration and more success.
One of the biggest assets, but most underutilized service of belonging to a fitness center is having the opportunity to work with a personal trainer. It is a hidden treasure that unfortunately a lot of people pass up. Think of it like this, a personal trainer is literally like your sidekick in the gym. They stand by you, guide you, push you and ultimately are there to be the catalyst of change to make you better than you were the day before. They want the best for you and they are there to make your gym experience a positive and rewarding one.
As a personal trainer, I look at my clients as I would my own family. When you walk in those gym doors I want you to feel welcomed, comfortable, secure and confident you will be taken care of. One of the most important things to me is making sure my clients do not feel intimidated- the time they spend with me should make them feel lifted up and encouraged. And don’t get me wrong, my job is to also push you and make you work hard- so the goal is to make those two come together in a beautiful way- to create an environment of positivity while also taking training seriously.
Let this be a friendly reminder that a personal trainer can offer you so many wonderful things! It can be such a beautiful relationship if you let it. And the best part about hiring a personal trainer is that you get to take the knowledge that you learn from them with you.
We are here to answer all your questions, to teach you, to motivate you and to create a road-map that will lead you to your goals.
We are here to accompany you on your fitness journey and it’s an honor to be the person who helps you achieve your highest potential.
We are here to improve your quality life in whatever way that means to you.
If you’ve ever thought about personal training let it be something you think about throughout the holiday season. Enjoy your family and this magical time of year, but let that thought just sit in your mind. Personal training is an investment, yes, but investing in yourself is priceless. I know you always hear that and it can come across cheesy, but its undeniably true. Investing in yourself will pay you back tenfold in the future.
Sending all my love and best holiday wishes!
Alyssa Lower, Personal Trainer at Pomerene Kinetics
As the Holidays and celebrations come and go, it's easy to lose track of what matters most. Here are some simple ways that can help you survive the Holiday season!
It's not just about the food. Don't make the food the center of your attention, focus or obsession. Instead, focus on what the season is truly about; spending time with your loved ones, caring for others, showing and expressing gratitude and being mindful of your actions. Continue living your normal life and routine. You wouldn't normally overindulge in pies, cookies or cakes on a daily or weekly basis. Why start now just because its "the Holidays?"
Drink Up! Water that is. With running errands, last minute Christmas shopping, cooking and traveling, it's easy for our bodies to get dehydrated. Drink water throughout the day and drink at least 1 cup of water in between each meal. Some easy ways to stay hydrated include:
- Infuse your water with fresh fruits like lemon and limes.Lemon's benefits extend beyond it's deliciously bittersweet taste. Lemon
oozes vitamin C, an important nutrient for the body's connective tissue, from collagen to bones to skin. It also helps to reduce stress and potentially guards against cancer. This goes for oranges, grapefruits, and limes, too. Try a different citrus fruit each day of the week!
- Fruits and Veggies. Don't let "solid" food fool you: many fruits and vegetables consist of mostly water. For example, an apple is 85% water by volume. Your body absorbs this liquid like any other, along with the vitamins and nutrients packed into these delicious snacks. If a single fruit does not call to you, try blending your favorites into a smoothie with flax seed for added omega-3 healthy fats.
- Tea. It may get a bad rep for being a diuretic, but its hydration benefits outweigh its mild diuretic properties. The average teacup is packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals, which boost endurance, fight free radicals, guard against cancers, and may even whittle down the waistline. To avoid the bitterness, sweeten with honey, agave nectar or coconut sugar.
RELAX. Most of us are fortunate to have a couple days off from work to relax and spend time with loved ones...so RELAX! Enjoy the time away from the busy workdays and enjoy yourself and those around you.
Don't forget about the veggies. Vegetables are so important during the Holiday season when you are eating more dense foods. They are a great way to create a lot more volume in a dish to make you feel like you are eating a lot more than you actually are. Veggies are full of fiber, nutrients and taste amazing when prepared in a way that you love.
Enjoy the little moments. Most importantly, don't forget to remind yourself of daily mantras of being present, living in the moment, connecting with your true self and not allowing the thoughts of "what if's, to-do's and I need to's" interfere with daily living. The more you concentrate of being present, the more you are able to enjoy spending time with family and friends. Enjoy the spirit of the holiday season and engage in fun activities with the ones you love.
Blog written by: TJ Darr, Employee Wellness
Glucose is a sugar that comes from the food you eat and is used for energy. Insulin is a hormone that carries the glucose in the blood to the other cells in your body. If your body doesn't produce enough insulin, or if it does not use insulin properly, then blood glucose levels can get too high, resulting in Type 2 Diabetes.
The Bad News
Too much glucose in the blood can have a long-term, widespread impact on the body.
- If it is not controlled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems. It is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- The complications develop gradually, so the longer you have the disease and the less controlled your blood sugar, the higher your risk.
- Type 2 Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death. One in in 11 Americans has diabetes - more than 29 million. Another 86 million adults have prediabetes - that's one in 3 Americans. (CDC Statistics)
The Good News
There are lifestyle choices you can make to prevent or control diabetes. Making just a few small changes can have a big impact on your overall health.
- Have a regular checkup with your doctor and know your diabetes risk - find out your blood sugar reading and your A1c; get your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers.
- Exercise! Find a way to increase your daily steps and activity level
- Eat a balanced diet. This means less processed foods and refined sugars.
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Even a 5% reduction can have a positive impact.
November is "American Diabetes Awareness Month," an important part of the American Diabetes Association's efforts to focus the nation's attention on this public health crisis, and the millions of people affected by it. Remember to spread the word and educate family members, not only this month but every month, to help them get on the right path to wellness.
Blog Written By: Tara Martin, Population Health Director
We all want the secret to making fitness and nutrition a life-long, enjoyable journey. All too often it is seen as a form of punishment and something to be dreaded, but what if we could change that? I believe there are many ways to do this, but in this blog post I would like to focus on one particular way you can change your mindset from dreading the gym to truly looking forward to it.
Fun, laughter, warm encouragement: relationship, camaraderie, that extra push when you need it- what if I told you this could be a part of your journey in abundance? What if we turned the gym into a place where you could build relationships and bring out the best in each other instead of a place where you sometimes feel alone in your workout and view it as a task to merely check off your list?
Group Fitness- this is the answer to unlocking all these wonderful things I have described to you. Now I know what you may be thinking, sometimes going into a class can be intimidating and you may feel as if you will be judged for your performance, but I can assure you that almost every group fitness instructor works very hard to create the exact opposite of this. As an instructor myself, my job is to create the most positive, welcoming atmosphere I can possibly construct. And for the most part, that will ring true across the board when it comes to fitness classes- know that the instructor is on your side and their job is to make you feel a part of the fitness family they have created as quickly as possible. And always remember that EVERYONE starts somewhere, never feel ashamed of your starting point, focus on being proud of yourself for deciding to make a change- that is what matters.
Another great perk of joining a fitness class (or classes) is that you have the class instructor to help guide you through your workout. So, if you are new to fitness this is a great way to not only learn some new exercises, but also the correct way to perform them. And lets admit it, having a workout already pre-made by someone for you to do instead of having to create or find one on your own is very convenient to have sometimes as well.
So, with all that being said If you feel as if your journey would benefit from a group fitness class or if you are about to embark on your fitness journey- I would like to warmly encourage you to try a fitness class. And I wouldn’t stop at just one, try out a few that perk your interest and even some that may pull you out of your comfort zone. You will never know until you give it a try and it could possibly be one of the most transformative decisions you make in your journey! Let’s make fitness something that is enjoyable and life giving. I would love for you to find a place where you feel lifted up, pushed to be your best and a place you can come to and be guaranteed to feel better when you leave. Let’s make fitness a maintainable, enjoyable lifestyle for all the years to come. I wish you the best of luck to you in your journey.
Blog written by: Alyssa Lower, Personal Trainer at Pomerene Kinetics
In April, Pomerene Hospital introduced a new physician practice, Pomerene Internal Medicine, and a new physician, Loren M. Kirchner, MD, MS, FACP, a board-certified Internal Medicine Specialist. Dr. Kirchner is trained and experienced in prevention, treatment and management of a large spectrum of illnesses affecting adults including chronic, complex and multi-system diseases.
Dr. Kirchner has 15 years of academic, hospitalist and outpatient experience in Wooster and also serves our country as Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He has been deployed on numerous occasions including four assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan where he has supervised and provided medical and trauma care in Combat Support Hospitals.
There has been a need to expand internal medicine services in our area. Pomerene understands the community's desire for close-to-home care, access to available appointments and short waiting room times...all of which are available through Dr. Kirchner and his staff!
Dr. Kirchner is a firm believer in using healthy foods, natural remedies and exercise to treat certain ailments. Many diseases, he believes, are caused by our own bad habits such as:
- Taking in too many starchy foods
- Eating high-fat foods
- Consuming too much caffeine and chocolate
Do you suffer from heartburn? Check out Dr, Kirchner's Heartburn Remedy!
- Put 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a small glass of water (I use Braggs)
- Repeat once or twice daily for minor heartburn symptoms
- Take 5-10 minutes before meals in 3-4 small drinks
- Practice healthy eating habits in conjunction with apple cider vinegar remedy
- Apple Cider Vinegar also aids in weight loss, sinus congestion, sore throats and even blood sugar levels
Dr. Kirchner is accepting new patients at Pomerene Internal Medicine, located in the lower level of the German Village Center at 4900 Oak Street in Berlin, Ohio. Appointments can be made by calling 330-893-1318. Pomerene Internal Medicine will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:00pm.
Pomerene Internal Medicine will welcome Dr. Kalisetti this Setpember....schedule your appointment TODAY!
Knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968. Originally, joint replacement surgery was reserved for patients typically over 70 years old. Due to concerns of implant failures, replacement surgery on younger patients was avoided. Although these procedures typically improved arthritic knee pain, some residual pain, stiffness and a feeling that the knee was never quite normal was not uncommon. Since then, there have been advancements in surgical materials and techniques which have greatly increased the effectiveness and longevity of the replacement. Knee replacement surgeries are commonly performed at the hospitals of Wayne and Holmes County as well as the Wooster Ambulatory Surgery Center by local orthopaedic surgeons.
Standard off-the-shelf, non-customized knee joint replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain, correct deformity and help you resume normal activities. Despite this, some patients are still hesitant to consider total knee replacement surgery. When asked why patients with a painful, arthritic knee are postponing surgery, many patients admit to waiting for a "new or better" procedure. Customized knee replacement surgery with patient specific cutting guides and a customized implant may likely be their answer. In simple terms, the implant is the metal and plastic that is used by the surgeon to replace the patient's removed arthritic knee bone.
For the first time in this area, customized knee implants are now available for patients who need partial or total knee replacement surgery. These fully customized knee implants are uniquely designed for each patient and are manufacturing using proprietary, advanced "image to implant" technology developed by ConforMIS. With the use of a standard computerized tomography (CT) scan of the patient's arthritic leg, an individual patient specific total knee replacement or partial knee replacement, with associated custom cutting blocks to be used by the surgeon, can be performed. Using 3-D printing technology, the knee joint is created one thick layer at a time with the same materials used for a traditional non-custom replacement. In essence, they are designing the implant to fit the bone rather than the bone to fit the implant, which better replicates the patient's natural anatomy. This process results in the implant that is the precise size and shape of the patient's individual joint.
This technology may represent a significant advantage over the current off-the-shelf knee implants. Off-the-shelf implants are available in only a limited range of sizes and shapes. As a result, when using off-the-shelf implants, surgeons need to make more extensive cuts to the patient's bone to accommodate the implant. This may be a major factor that causes approximately 1 out of every 5 knee replacement patients to suffer residual pain caused by ill-fitting implants. This also may result in a mismatch between the size and shape of the patient's bone and non-custom implant which may result in functional limitations for the patient. With customized implants, the size and shape of the implant is knee and patient specific, which may lead to a more normal feeling knee with better range of motion and higher patient satisfaction.
During the custom procedure, the surgeon cuts less bone to accommodate the implant, therefore patients can experience less trauma and postoperative pain. Patients with customized implants may have faster recoveries and be more satisfied with the results. The greater preservation of bone also helps to position patients for successful future surgeries if necessary,
Another benefit of customized knee implants is that they are developed with complete single use, customized cutting guides for the orthopaedic surgeon to use only on that patient. Because the implants are single use and disposable, there is reduced sterilization required compared with reusable instruments. There is less potential for contamination compared to reusable instruments. The cutting guides are also manufactured via 3-D printing and calibrated based on the patient's unique CT scan so they can fit the implant with the maximum precision. This allows the orthopaedic surgeon to align the implant more exactly. Proper placement and alignment has been found to help reduce implant wear and help ensure that the prosthesis lasts as long as possible.
While many patients do fine with non-customized knee replacement surgery, it is hoped that customized total knee replacement surgery will increase the number of more satisfied patients, giving them a more normal feeling, long-lasting knee replacement with less postoperative pain and an easier recovery.
If you or a loved one are experiencing arthritic knee pain and have been told you may need a knee replacement, the best way to find out if you are a candidate is to be evaluated by an orthopaedic surgeon. Please call 330.674.0775 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
Blog Written By: Rodney Miller, MD