Matt Bonstelle, Outpatient Knee Replacement Patient

Matt Bonstelle - Lake, MI

"After going through Joint Camp, it was a piece of cake."

Outpatient Knee Replacement Allowed Him to Move Pain-Free Again

Matt Bonstelle and his wife live far out in the woods, amid the peace and beauty of nature. The setting is ideal for Matt, who enjoys doing various outdoor activities. Before his recent retirement, he commuted to his job at a local chemical company and on his time off, he kept busy spending time outside.

Over the years, arthritis had been wearing on Matt's right knee joint. To manage the pain and inflammation, he started receiving cortisone injections, which helped for a while.

Eventually though, the degenerative condition of his knee progressed to the point where all the cartilage in the joint was gone and it was bone on bone. At that point, the shots were no longer helping. Matt continued to work as usual and participate in his normal outdoor activities, but these were now quite painful. Walking up flights of stairs was particularly painful. Once his non-invasive arthritis therapies stopped helping with the pain and stiffness, it became clear that Matt needed a knee replacement. Fortunately, despite being away from any major metropolitan area, he was not far from the Mt. Pleasant Surgery Center, located within MyMichigan Medical Center Mt. Pleasant.

To decide if this was the place for him, Matt and his wife scheduled an appointment with Orthopedic Surgeon James Ware, D.O. Because of his active lifestyle, Dr. Ware determined that Matt would be a good candidate for outpatient knee replacement surgery. He and his wife then met with the surgical team and received a tour of the facility. "It was absolutely fabulous," Matt said. "My wife and I were very impressed."

Before the surgery happened, Matt attended MyMichigan's "Joint Camp" program. There, he met other patients preparing for surgery, and together learned about what to expect from the operation and with post-surgery care.

Matt was scheduled to receive a total knee replacement on July 17, 2018. He admits that he was daunted by the idea of having the surgery when he first learned he needed to have it done; however, getting to meet his care team ahead of time and attending the preparation sessions significantly reduced his anxiety. The fact that no hospital stay was necessary was also a surprising relief.

The day of the surgery, everything went very smoothly and perfectly on time. Matt's wife drove him to the Surgery Center, where he checked in at 6 a.m. He was discharged and on the road home by noon the same day.

After checking in, Matt was prepped for surgery. Both he and his wife were impressed by the level of kindness and expertise displayed by the entire care team, including the surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists. "They are all very, very nice people," Matt added. "I would definitely recommend them." He felt particularly at ease with Dr. Ware. "He's a great doctor and very good at what he does," Matt said.

Once in the recovery ward, Matt only needed to stay long enough for the anesthesia to wear off and to demonstrate he was ready to return home. He had to show that he was mobile, even able to climb a couple of stairs. The outpatient procedure meant that he was able to do these things right away, and with very little pain.

Back at home, Matt had already been set up with equipment to help maximize the efficiency of his recovery. A staff member had come by before the surgery to drop off and explain the use of a cold compression machine. "We live out in the boonies, and she was there," Matt said. The machine circulated cold water from an ice source through a tube and into a pack that wrapped around his knee, keeping it chilled continuously and eliminating the need to change cold packs frequently.

Two days after the surgery, Matt started outpatient physical therapy. At each session, he would start off with a quick warm-up on an exercise bike to loosen his muscles. This was followed by a series of tailored stretches. The therapist manually bent his knee to help it reach its full range of flexibility. At home, Matt did some stretches and exercises on his own to keep his knee moving and prevent it from becoming stiff.

After just a month and a half, Matt had made substantial progress. "I'm pretty active so it didn't take quite so long for me," he explains. Six weeks after his surgery, Matt finished his therapy and returned to work. Even then, after one month of light restrictions, he was able to resume his normal tasks without trouble.

Today, Matt is thoroughly enjoying his new pain-free knee. "I can get around a lot better," he said happily. Without the constant pain, he's back to enjoying life to the fullest.

Those who would like more information on Dr. Ware or orthopedic knee replacement surgery may visit www.mymichigan.org/knee.

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