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Making the Decision to Have Orthopaedic Surgery

POSTED BY: Jessica Palo

Have you or someone you know ever been in the position where you had a choice of whether or not to have a surgery? A number of people have, but often the fear of a complication or not being in better condition after surgery stop people from going in for the procedure. We sat down with Eddie Braga, Senior Health and Performance Consultant with Florida Hospital, to listen to his experience to have two elective knee surgeries.

Tell us about your background and condition.

Eddie: Well, from high school to now, I’ve always loved to run and ride my bike.  Around Christmas two years ago, the inside of my left knee really began to hurt, but I just assumed it was an injury that would go away. Athletes deal with knee and other injuries all the time, but after completing the Ragnar Relay in 2012, a 198 mile relay from Miami to Key West, my knee hurt so badly I decided to stop running. I needed to see a doctor.

Eddie decided to see J. Dean Cole, MD, a nationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon at the Fracture Care Center. During his appointment, Dr. Cole suggested an upper tibial osteotomy for both his left and right knees. The procedure can realign the knee by taking pressure off the damaged side usually caused by degenerative disease or malalignment (like bowlegs). Malalignment can cause excessive pressure on either the inner or outer part of the knee, which can cause the knee’s tissues to wear on one side more than the other.  The osteotomy is generally used to prolong the time before a knee replacement is necessary.

What made you decide to see Dr. Cole?

Eddie: He’s the man! Dr. Cole can do so many procedures and is highly skilled. I knew that no matter what procedure I might require he would be able to do it and do it well.  After some x-rays and an examination he determined that because both my legs are bowed there was a lot of pressure being  placed on the inside of my knees when I ran or rode my bike.  He took time to explain my options and what each option would entail. I always felt comfortable in our discussions and never felt pressure. We discussed everything in detail and it was me who decided when I wanted the surgery. I wanted to get it done quickly so I could get back to doing the things I love, running and riding my bike!

How was your experience in the hospital?

Eddie: It was amazing. The seventh floor Fracture Care Unit took great care of me. I felt like they were really there for me. As you can imagine there was some pain and they did everything they could to make me feel comfortable.  They are truly an amazing team.

How are you feeling after your surgeries?

Eddie: I feel motivated. My left knee was done in the beginning of March and my right was just recently done in the beginning of May. Recovery is going well on both legs. I have good and bad hours and my goal now is to be pain free. I’m currently spinning on a trainer and trying to stay active by walking around. Right now it’s about focusing on the future. In time, a goal would be to do another Ironman triathlon or hike the Grand Canyon with my son again. I also want to get back to riding my bike with my friends. I want to show others that even after an injury, you can do it!

What advice would you have for someone deciding on whether or not to have an orthopaedic surgery?

Eddie: I would tell that person they need to have confidence in their physician and the facility at which they are having the surgery performed. That played a huge part in my decision. I knew that I’d be cared for by the Fracture Care Unit staff and Dr. Cole’s team. You also need family support. Having people there for you after surgery is a really important part of recovery. Last, don’t let fear keep you from getting a surgery that will improve your life. If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s worth the risk.

Motivated by Eddie’s story and still deciding if you want to have an orthopaedic surgery? Book a consultation with the Fracture Care Center today!