A lifetime of wear and tear took its toll on Marcelen Cary’s joints. She’s had both knees and both hips replaced.
“When it became painful for me to walk and to get around or to turn over in bed or sleep,” says Cary, a joint replacement patient.
First to go were her knees.
“The first knee was the hardest. It took me 12 weeks before they would let me go without a cane or any support. The second knee, within two and one half weeks after I’d had surgery I was driving,” says Cary.
Marcelen is 87 years old and she wasn’t about to let her old joints slow her down, and there’s no reason to think they should.
“Now people want to climb Mount Everest and jog and run half marathons and things like that. Fortunately I think the technology and the techniques that have been refined and developed can meet that challenge,” says Dr. George Markovich, an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
It may be a matter of survival for older adults. Research finds joint replacement boosts quality of life and helps prolong life by keeping patients more mobile and stable.
“Somebody who lives to about 65 has a very high chance of living to 90. So when we help people in terms of hip replacement and knee replacement, we want that to be the last operation that they need on that joint, so that joint hopefully will stand the test of time,” says Dr. Markovich.
A growing number of older Americans find surgery gets rid of their aches and pains and allows them to stay active.
“I’m doing exercise class, I ride my bicycle, I can walk, I bowl. I do anything I want to,” says Cary.
So for Cary, joint replacement gave her a leg up on life.