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Advances in knee surgery From pain to play: Arlington Lakes golfer has new knee, new lease on life.

Byline: Submitted by Northwest Community Healthcare

Nick Mueller lives an active lifestyle. An avid golfer at the Arlington Lakes Golf Club in Arlington Heights and a regular at a nearby YMCA, Mueller had experienced knee pain for years before coming to Northwest Community Healthcare for treatment.

At first he tried to work through the pain with the help of over-the-counter medication. But that soon proved ineffective at giving him lasting relief.

"I ran the gamut for about 10 years or so," Mueller says. "I started with off-the-shelf pain relief cream and anti-inflammatories. Then I took prescription NSAIDs for osteoarthritis, which was fine for a couple of years. But then I developed some issues with my esophagus and stomach so I had to stop taking the prescription medications. Then I tried shots, wore the brace, the whole thing. It got to the point where there were just some things you'd choose not to do because it wasn't worth the pain."

After the osteoarthritis in his knee worsened, Mueller decided it was time to make the big move and get a total joint replacement. He chose orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sergey Kachar of Northwest Orthopedic Surgery to perform the procedure.

"Dr. Kachar also has helped me with other things, but the knee was his area of concentration so that's how I started with him," Mueller says. "He's a great doctor. He never rushes or worries about spending too much time with you or anything like that, so I felt very comfortable in his care."

Creating a new knee

About three weeks prior to the surgery, Mueller went in for an MRI so that a company in Germany could make an exact replica of his knee.

"I used a new technology which allows the surgeon to use an MRI scan to help the company manufacture 3D custom molds for patients," Kachar says. "This, in turn, decreases the duration of surgery, improves the accuracy of component placement and accelerates the rehabilitation."

"And I got the mold afterward," adds Mueller, "which is pretty nice."

The knee is made from a cobalt-chromium alloy with a vitamin E-impregnated polyethylene bearing. It's expected to last Mueller a lifetime.

Same-day discharge

Mueller arrived at the hospital on a morning in January 2018 to have his procedure performed as an outpatient. He went home later that same day.

"I never spent a night in the hospital, which was pretty amazing," Mueller says. "The whole experience was great. Even the paperwork and the intake procedure were all smooth and everybody was very kind to us. They couldn't be nicer."

How it works

The main portion of Mueller's procedure took less than an hour.

Kachar spent an additional 30 minutes to meticulously seal the watertight "plastic closure" with dissolvable sutures beneath the skin, which allows patients to shower on the very first day without any need for dressing changes or suture removal.

Mueller's recovery was very rapid, with no complications and minimal postoperative pain. The day after his surgery, he began two weeks of home therapy through Northwest Community Healthcare.

"The home therapy was through the hospital and I had two people," Mueller says. "Both of them were super nice, very helpful and knowledgeable. They did a great job. I was actually walking pretty well within a week. At first I had a cane, but basically it was more for decoration and the stairs than anything else."

Back in action

Today, Mueller says of his right knee, "It's basically as good as new. I work out regularly, about three or four times a week in the winter and two or three times a week in the summer. I do weight machines, the strider and the treadmill. I golf twice a week."

Mueller regrets waiting so long to do opt for surgery.

"I think I waited maybe a year or two years too long," Mueller says. "It was such a pain wearing the brace and I didn't mind the shots so much, but you still have pain, discomfort and inconvenience. If I had known how well the knee replacement would go, I would've done it years sooner."

Mueller added, "If you've been sidelined by joint pain, get to NCH and see one of the orthopedic specialists. You'll feel like new in no time."

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kachar, call (847) 870-4200. To learn about all orthopedic surgeons on staff at NCH, call (847) 618-9900.
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Title Annotation:Health Fitness
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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