Published on Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Mark Christenson, age 69, of Flint Township, does not have plans to slow down any time soon, so when his knees began interfering with everyday activities he knew it was time to inquire about getting joint replacements.
“I had pretty persistent pain, and I was walking with a limp,” states Mark. “I could not walk long distances and it was difficult to climb the stairs. Even a ride in the car for a long period of time was uncomfortable. Also, I really love to golf; it is my main recreational activity. It would be a big void in my life if I could not play and the pain was affecting my enjoyment of the game.”
In early 2016 Mark spoke to his primary care physician, Jose Lopez, MD, about going to an orthopedic surgeon. He was referred to Sidney Martin, MD. He was told both knees were in need of replacement, and he chose to have the left knee operated on first. His surgery was scheduled to take place at McLaren on April 20, 2016; post tax season. Besides being a full-time insurance agent, Mark is also a part-time tax preparer and consultant the first few months out of the year.
“I can say the first couple of weeks after surgery were a bit tough,” states Mark. “The physical therapists have to bend and stretch your new knee, but it actually was not as bad as I thought it would be. Approximately six weeks later, I was playing golf again. That knee felt great but, as predicted, my other one bothered me a few weeks after I got back on the course. I decided to wait until after golf season to schedule my right knee replacement. I had it done November 9, 2016.”
Like many fields of medicine, minimally invasive techniques have revolutionized knee replacement surgery.
“Knee surgery used to require an eight to 12 inch incision down the front of the knee and sometimes cutting muscle or tendon,” states Sidney Martin, Orthopedic Surgeon. “Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery requires a smaller incision of three to five inches. The result is less tissue damage. I am able to work between the fibers of the quadriceps muscles on the front of the leg, instead of having to cut through the tendon that connects the knee bone to the muscle.” Dr. Martin noted, “This approach can lead to less pain, decreased recovery time and better motion due to less scar tissue formation.”
Mark is now pain free, and he was able to play nine holes of golf on an unseasonably warm day in Genesee County this February.
“I’m pretty sure I can walk the golf course and am confident I will continue to gain even more strength in the weeks to come,” adds Mark.
A year after his first knee surgery, Mark didn’t wait until the end of tax season to plan a special trip. On March 15, 2017, he and a group of friends took an annual golf trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which proved to be the perfect opportunity to test out both of his new knees on the links he enjoys so much.