From work to play to knee surgery, the Websters do everything together — including saying “goodbye” to their aching knees.
For the past 26 years, William and Mary “Pat” Webster have never been far apart. Until their retirement last year, the Hop Bottom couple worked alongside each other operating their small medical supply business — Bill, 84, ran the manufacturing and Pat, 73, managed the bookkeeping. Outside of their work, the dynamic duo spends virtually every minute together, from shopping to taking drives to going on cruises.
But on their way home from church one morning, the Websters were in a car accident. The collision left them with pain in their knees and legs, along with a newly acquired limp as a consequence of their injuries. For more than five years, the couple dealt with their individual pain, which made it difficult to engage in their favorite pastimes. That’s when they realized they needed to do something about it.
Exploring their options
Initially apprehensive about having any kind of surgery, a friend told Mr. and Mrs. Webster about Mako® robotic surgery — new, advanced technology for joint replacements. After doing some research, they learned that the robotic-arm-assisted surgery was available locally.
Mako surgery offers an alternative to traditional knee replacement surgery, using a robotic arm that assists in performing precise, minimally invasive partial or total knee replacements (along with total hip replacements). It’s transforming the way joint replacement surgery is performed. Before surgery, a Mako-trained orthopaedic surgeon takes precise measurements around the joint, which is used to generate a 3D virtual model of that person’s unique anatomy. These exact measurements are uploaded into Mako’s computer, allowing for a seamless placement of the new joint.
During the procedure, the surgeon uses a specialized computer to control and guide robotic “arms” around the joint, removing damaged cartilage and placing the replacement joint.
Because of the precision and attention to individual anatomy, Mako is less invasive than traditional joint replacement surgeries, which equals shorter recovery time — so people like the Websters can back to doing what they love, sooner.
Taking a leap
“One day, while sitting around the kitchen table, we decided to go for it,” says Pat. “We wanted to enjoy our days, free from pain and spend as much quality time together as possible.”
That decision brought them to Geisinger — where Mako robotic-assisted surgery is only available locally. Here they saw Dr. James Murphy, an orthopaedic surgeon at Geisinger Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Wilkes-Barre.
After a full evaluation, Dr. Murphy explained to the couple that they were both good candidates to have knee replacements.
“Pat and Bill wanted to do something about their knee pain,” says Dr. Murphy. “They came ready to learn more about less invasive treatments, like robotic surgery. After talking to them about their options, we came up with a plan and got them ready for life with new knees.”
Together, the Websters would have their knees done — a total knee replacement for Bill in May of 2018 and a partial knee replacement for Pat that July. Unlike her husband’s total knee replacement, Pat’s procedure would replace a portion of her knee cap.
Bringing peace of mind
After their surgeries, a healthy dose of rest and physical therapy put the Websters on the road to recovery. They each worked with a team of physical therapists, performing knee exercises to regain strength and movement.
“The two were eager to get back to their lives,” Dr. Murphy adds. “With Mako, because there’s a shorter recovery time, most people can return to their regular activities sooner, usually in four weeks or so.”
The couple notes the most significant change since receiving their new knees has been the lack of pain. They’ve also stopped limping.
“There’s no more discomfort, no more limping,” says Bill. “We still get tired if we walk around too much or sit for too long, but we’re building our energy back up and feeling great.”
Pat stays active by walking on the treadmill a few times a week or doing yard work. Bill likes to take walks and be outdoors with his wife. They’re also spending more time with their family and enjoying a quiet life in the country.
“We have peace of mind because we know our knees are fixed,” Pat says. “It has given us a wonderful sense of security. Because of that, we are in a better place emotionally and feeling so much better than we did before.”
Having fun in retirement
Life is a little more carefree now for the Websters, who recently closed their business and retired. The twosome frequently takes road trips to places like Cape Cod — something they couldn’t do before their surgeries. They’re relishing their time together, thanks in part to the team at Geisinger.
“Geisinger exceeded our expectations,” says Pat. “Dr. Murphy and his staff, especially our physical therapists, Randy and Mary, were truly amazing. We recovered quickly and with no complications.”
Next steps:4 things to know about Mako joint replacement
Request a consult with James Murphy, MD
Learn more about partial and total knee replacements