Shore Medical Center:
“Shore Healthy Living” Newsletter
Knee replacement surgeries are a daily occurrence for Dr. Stephen Zabinski and his fellow orthopedic surgeons at Shore Orthopaedic University Associates (SOUA) in Somers Point. “Knees are by far the most common of all joints that are replaced,” said Dr. Zabinski who has been performing knee replacement surgery for more than 20 years. “Knees are also the joint most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. They are also the most subjective to sports injury and most affected by weight. Those factors can wear the knees away.”
Most patients will visit SOUA with complaints of discomfort from osteoarthritis, though there are many forms of arthritis that negatively impact joints and bones. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative, “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis where the cartilage gradually wears away. It occurs most often in people age 50 and older, but may occur in younger people as well, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Dr. Zabinski added that genetics also plays a factor and said people who tend to sit cross-legged as they eat, or kneel often may have significant discomfort in their knee simply because they are putting a lot of additional stress on the knee itself.
For patients like Louis Cullen, who at 80 years of age is still detailing cars and enjoys being outside, the knee pain he was experiencing caused him to seek help with Dr. Zabinski to see about relieving the pain in his knees and getting back to his life and the things he enjoys.
Getting ready for surgery
But the surgeon said there is a lot a patient has to do to be ready so that they optimize their outcome and hasten recovery. Because of the nature of this operation, there are a lot of factors that need to be discussed prior to surgery that will contribute to the patient’s optimum success, according to Dr. Zabinski. “If they have a problem with urinary retention, I direct them to work with their urologist. If they are overweight, they will need to go on a diet and try to lose some weight. And all my patients know, they must be nicotine free for six weeks. Not just cigarettes or cigars but also nicotine patches, gum and over-the-counter nicotine products.” Dr. Zabinski said nicotine limits the micro circulation and inhibits the healing process. “All of my patients must be nicotine free.”