Yampa Valley Medical Center’s monthly Taking Care of Me program features a joint replacement talk at 6 p.m. Thursday. Orthopaedic surgeon Bryan Bomberg, M.D., Joint Replacement Coordinator Tamara Floyd and physical therapist Geri Crosby will present information about hip and knee replacements, show implants, share free educational materials and answer questions in YVMC’s Conference Room 1.
Steamboat Springs The path to knee or hip replacement can be long and winding, filled with years of walking, bending, skiing, twisting, running, cycling, riding and other activities.
“I’m an active person who’s worked hard all my life, but the daily grind eventually took a toll on my knees.”
That’s how Ray Fisher, a building contractor, horse breeder and showman from Cheyenne, Wyo., described what led him to seek knee replacement surgery at age 68.
“It’s really hard to get the rug pulled out from under you with bad knees,” Fisher said. “Depression kind of kicked in a little bit. Getting my knees replaced just changed my whole attitude about life.”
With a choice of hospitals in Wyoming and along the Front Range in Colorado, Fisher chose Yampa Valley Medical Center for both of his knee replacements and thought he got a new lease on life.
His story is one of hundreds that could be told about YVMC’s Joint Replacement Program. Coordinator Tamara Floyd, RN, attributes the consistently positive comments to the team approach taken by the hospital.
“Our team involves the patient’s primary care physician, orthopaedic surgeon, physical therapists, nurses, pharmacists, case managers, infection prevention team and all other hospital caregivers,” Floyd said. “We communicate and coordinate the care for each patient.”
Bryan Bomberg, M.D., is one of several orthopaedic surgeons who perform joint replacement surgeries at YVMC. He said many patients have questions prior to this life-changing surgery.
“People want to know if they can do everything they’ve been able to do before, and how long it will take them to recover,” Bomberg said. “Many ask if the implant will last them for the rest of their lives.”
Another question commonly asked is whether to put up with the pain and put off surgery, wondering if there may be something new and improved hovering on the horizon.
Bomberg has seen numerous advancements in the 20-plus years he has been doing joint replacement surgery.
“The basic design of the knee replacement has changed with a refinement in geometry and ability to get a better bend,” he said. “The rotating platform delivers a more natural motion.”
Options now include a partial knee replacement for the inside or outside of the joint or the kneecap joint. Bomberg said the worn-out portion can be replaced, speeding up recovery and improving range of motion.
Hip replacement also has advanced in several areas, especially in the materials used for the bearing surfaces of the implants. This has produced greater longevity.
The trend toward minimally invasive surgical techniques and changes in anesthesia have helped to shorten post-operative recovery, Bomberg said.
He credits the hospital’s Joint Replacement Program for doing a good job of preparing patients before surgery and standardizing care at a high level.
“Patients are better prepared pre-operatively,” Bomberg said. “We have integrated advances and maximized efficiencies to get the best outcomes.”
There is no “one-size-fits-all” in joint replacement surgery. Floyd said each patient is an individual. From the pre-operative interview to follow-up phone calls after patients go home, she has coordinated joint replacement care for patients ranging in ages 39 to 97.
“People can be nervous about this surgery, and we want them to know that we listen to them,” Floyd said. “Before, during and after their surgery, we are here as a resource for them. We make sure that every patient feels like a person instead of a number.”
Christine McKelvie is public relations director of Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at email@example.com.