Bionic Man: Four Joint Replacements: February 10, 2012

Scott Marinelli is a walking wonder. It’s a wonder he’s even walking at all.

“I’d get these stabbing pains in my knee, it was like somebody with a pick axe, you know, just stabbing on my knees. I’d get these shooting pains from my hip down to my ankles.”

He was laboring through life with crippling arthritis in several of his joints, due to heredity, trauma and overuse. When he couldn’t take it anymore, he went for help.

“Scott was in bad shape. I mean he had multiple joint involvement, very active guy and he was really disabled,” says Dr. George Markovich, an orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

To return to his former lifestyle, Dr. Markovich recommended joint replacement, several of them.

“He had two bad hips and then he had a bad knee associated with that. Often times the knee pain can come from the hip but his were really both separate. Then he had a bad shoulder.”

“Nobody wants to have an operation lets face it and I knew it wasn’t just going to be one operation but I was probably going to have to have four,” says Marinelli.

“We sort of started talking about how to proceed in terms of reconstructing things. We went from the joint that hurt him the most and limited him the most to the one that sort of wasn’t weight baring,” says Dr. Markovich.

If you’re keeping the score, Scott had two hips resurfaced, one total shoulder replacement and one total knee replacement. That’s four operations in one year. With just a little bit of down time in between, he’s back on his feet.

Each surgery was followed by a rehabilitation and recovery period. Like other baby boomer patients, Scott had high expectations.

“People used to say ‘look I just want to get to the refrigerator and be comfortable when I’m sitting on my porch.’ Now people want to climb Mount Everest and jog and run half marathons and things like that. Fortunately technology and techniques that have been refined and developed can meet that challenge,” says Dr. Markovich.
He jokes that he’s a bionic man with several rebuilt joints. Together they’ve made him feel like a new man.

“I can walk around, I can move around, I mean I don’t have to have any kind of artificial help. I don’t have to have the canes or the walkers or any of that stuff anymore,” says Marinelli.