Whoever said retirement means slowing down has not met 71-year old Helen Akers of Geneseo. “If I’m not working out at the gym, then I’m on the move, driving to one sporting event after another to cheer on my ten grandchildren,” she says. “I just love going to their games, so we put a lot of miles in and around the Quad Cities.”
Fit and Fabulous at 71 Years
This self-appointed family cheerleader has regained both her strength and stamina after undergoing two separate orthopedic surgeries for pain in her spine and knee. “No one has time for pain in their life, and that included me,” recalls Helen. Although young at heart, as with many Baby Boomers, Helen was experiencing the pains of aging with deteriorating disk cartilage in her neck and osteoarthritis in her knee — both which threatened to put her on the sidelines during her best years with her family.
“My neck and shoulder were the first to give me trouble. I had numbness in both arms, and then the pain just got worse. I went from doctor to doctor for treatment and the pain was just limiting my life. It hurt so much I couldn’t sleep,” Helen recalls.
Dr. Michael Berry, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, discovered Helen suffered from a pinched nerve in her neck that required surgery. “Pinched nerves caused radiating pain down her arms. I performed what’s called an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, which is the common procedure to treat Helen’s condition,” he explains. Dr. Berry removed Helen’s bulging disk and deteriorated cartilage between her vertebrae, which took the pressure off her nerve. He then fused her bones together with a small plate and screws to lock in place. “When patients wake up, they typically feel instantaneously better,” says Dr. Berry.
Same-Day Surgery, Faster Recovery
It is not unusual for seniors Helen’s age to experience joint and bone pain, and her knee was no exception. Deteriorating cartilage from arthritis meant a total knee replacement, which has restored strength and movement, as well. “Wear and tear over the years can cause the loss of cartilage around a joint like the knee,” explains Dr. Mark Stewart, a surgeon specializing in sports medicine, arthroscopic, and joint replacement surgery. To get Helen moving again, Dr. Stewart performed a total knee replacement, removing the old cartilage and inserting a high-grade implant into her knee joint — all while preserving the majority of her ligaments, muscles and tendons. The surgery requires small incisions and a short hospital stay, but Helen was up and moving the same day. “I tell my patients they are able to return to biking and swimming very quickly.” Helen is fully recovered now and back to her routine of gym workouts and attending sporting events.
From active seniors like Helen to amateur, elite, and professional athletes, to even the smallest child who will overcome bone and muscular challenges, ORA’s 25 physicians treat more than 10,000 patients each year.
ORA mobilizes its team of physicians and staff to put their diverse expertise and vast resources to work–and get patients back to life. “Our mission is simply to ensure our patients reach their fullest potential and restore as much strength and movement as possible, all with the least amount of risk,” says Michael Pyevich, MD.
“Our philosophy of care begins with respecting each patient and understanding their goals, so that in partnership with us, they receive the best possible outcome,” he adds. “Our experienced physicians and staff are specially trained in all aspects of orthopedic care, so that we can offer a variety of innovative surgical and practical non-surgical options backed by sound advice.” Ken Brockman, ORA CEO, says, “Most of our physicians grew up in the Quad City region and have come home to raise their families and improve our area’s quality of life.”
ORA has become the region’s leading orthopedic practice after more than 50 years of building on the expertise and the community commitment of its physicians. For more information, log on to www.qcora.com. For ORA events and patient success stories, follow us on Facebook.
Photos courtesy of ORA Orthopedics