Region 8 patients reunite with their doctors

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A group of patients got to sit down with the doctors and nurses, over lunch, who cared for them during their joint replacement surgeries.

The seventh annual Total Joint Advantage Program Reunion took place at St. Bernard's Auditorium on Wednesday.

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. John Woloszyn, says this is a great opportunity for everyone, "Every year we just kind of get together and bring our joint patients back and make it a luncheon. See how every body's doing. And every time we do this we have an education seminar. So, somebody will talk about some health related topic marketed towards the age group attending."

Denise Malloy, also with the Total Joint Advantage Program, says this lunch is good for both the patients and medical staff.

"This meeting is really important because it validates how great people do after total joint. To see them coming in, leaving their walkers behind, canes behind, out of pain is gratifying for us as the Total Joint Team. It's also good for the patients because they get to see some of the same folks that they went through the program with."

Dr. Woloszyn, "It's nice to see a patient after the fact in a non office setting. It's almost like when they bump into me at Wal-Mart and they say, 'Hey Dr. Woloszyn my knee is doing great' or 'my hip is fine, thank you!"

Dr. Woloszyn says the Total Joint Advantage Program with St. Bernard's is an unusual one, "We started a program that was quite unique, actually the first in the state, to take the patients through the process of getting a joint replacement, which is a big deal. A knee replacement is probably one of the most painful surgeries you can go through. With that and the matter of fear, patients are apprehensive. They don't know what to go through. How to. . .they need information. So, we've put together what's called, St. Bernard's Joint Advantage. The go through a class. They're shown videos, models, they sit down with coordinator."

Denise says the key is education, "I would like people to know to not be afraid of total joint replacement if it becomes necessary. It is not the ordeal that it was in the past and education is the key. Knowing what to expect. That is a huge part of this program."

Dr. Woloszyn, "I have yet to have a patient say they've had a bad experience with Total Joint Advantage. Because of this they know what to expect. They know the nurses. It's people that have been hand picked to be on the joint team. So, they're used to seeing the same faces. Their doctor. They know what to expect from therapy. They know what to expect before and after."

Dr. Woloszyn says there are two common misconceptions about joint replacement, "one is the pain. That you're just gonna have to tough it out. Our whole concept of pain control is completely different from when I was in training. We're much more in control and ahead of the game of controlling patients pain. The other is they think you're just chopping out a big hunk of bone and putting in a hinge. And no, it's only about three eighths of an inch. And we're shaving around, replacing some metal and plastic and their kneecap is their own kneecap. Their ligaments are their own ligaments. It isn't like replacing a bad door hinge."

Dr. Woloszyn says total joint replacement is for the patient who can not cope with the activities of daily living or can't do the things they want to do.

For more information about this program, log onto their website.

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