Nurse becomes the patient

Nurse becomes the patient

Like many patients with arthritic joints, Advocate Condell Medical Center Nurse Lilli Woo of McHenry, Ill., had reached a point where she was no longer doing many of the things she enjoys. Walking the dog was a challenge, working full-time and long hours became difficult and she found herself increasingly frustrated by chronic knee pain and decreased activity.

Woo sought help from Dr. Junaid Makda, a total joint specialist with Advocate Medical Group Orthopedics and Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. She was thrilled to learn of a relatively new joint surgery called a partial knee replacement.

Woo had been an active volleyball athlete in high school and was, admittedly “too cool for knee pads,” she explains. The many years of volleyball through high school and college, combined with a genetic predisposition for development of early osteoarthritis, and Woo woke up one morning virtually unable to walk.

After examination, she learned the inside of her knee joint had significantly deteriorated. The outside component, however, had remained relatively well-preserved. Dr. Makda recommended a unicompartmental, or partial, knee replacement as the answer to Woo’s pain and restricted mobility.

Patients with arthritis in only one area of the knee – generally the inside of the joint – can benefit from this surgery. Makda uses the analogy of a car with one flat tire, “You would not replace all the tires on the car if only one were damaged. The same holds true of a partial knee replacement. No need to replace the entire joint when only one compartment is degenerative.”

“I perform this precise surgery which allows the patient to keep their own healthy ligaments and cartilage while replacing the diseased part of the joint,” explains Dr. Makda. “During the surgery, I enter the knee through a small incision, moving aside the healthy soft tissue in the joint in order to access the damaged areas for resurfacing and insertion of the implant.”

Woo underwent surgery in June and fully expected to wake up in pain and unable to walk. “I followed his instructions and really had minimal discomfort. Instead, I woke with no nausea and absolutely no pain.  I walked out of the hospital the same day and went home to sleep in my own bed and began my recovery.”

Dr. Makda prescribed pain management regimens that included a 72-hour pain pump and cooling brace to control swelling. Within a month, Woo claims she was back to about 60 percent of function and at three and a half months, had lost 20 pounds resulting from her ability to be active again.

A long-time nurse, Woo is not easily impressed. She cannot say enough about her surgical experience, not only as a health care provider but as a patient. “It feels just like my own knee,” Woo says.  “Dr. Makda’s professionalism and surgical expertise are truly amazing.”

Dr. Junaid Makda is a total joint specialist with Advocate Medical Group Orthopedics and Advocate Condell Medical Center, with offices in Lincolnshire, Libertyville, Lake Zurich and Crystal Lake.  He is currently accepting new patients; to make an appointment, call (847) 634-1766.

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About the Author

Lori Recker
Lori Recker

Lori Recker is a physician assistant with Advocate Medical Group Orthopedics. She has more than 20 years of experience as a physician assistant, working in family practice, OB/GYNE and orthopedics. Prior to becoming a physician assistant, Lori worked in health care policy in Washington, D.C. as both a Congressional staff member and a lobbyist. As a health enews contributor, she appreciates the opportunity to highlight the surgical talent of the physicians she works with and to supplement patient education. Lori resides in Libertyville with her family and enjoys living in the community where she practices.