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Local hospital unveils new replacement

Updated: Wednesday, December 4 2013, 06:54 PM EST

By Jon Rudder

WEIRTON, W. Va - Knee replacement patients understand what a difficult road recovery can be, and it's often a painful process.

However, doctors at Weirton Medical Center have developed a comprehensive pain and blood-loss program that aims to reduce a patient's recovery time and get them into therapy faster.

This comprehensive program is the closest thing to a pain-free knee replacement as you can get, but the procedure starts long before a patient enters the operating room, and the program itself has been a four-year process that is showing some staggering results.

"It's like when you go to get a shot and the nurse says, 'You're going to feel a little pinch.' You don't believe that," Leonard Cox, a Hopedale resident that underwent a knee replacement at Weirton Medical Center said.

Cox had never endured surgery before, but 40 years of construction work had taken a toll on his knees.

"The problem is it's not like I had an injury to my knee and one day I'm walking fine and climbing ladders and running and things and carrying heavy loads," Cox said. "This happened over a long process."

Luckily, doctors at Weirton Medical Center have developed preoperation testing, combining oral medications with a sensory nerve block. They also use minimally invasive techniques during surgery to allow patients to have minimal pain and still have use of their leg once they leave the operating room.

"We're bringing university medicine right here to Weirton Medical Center," Dr. Jorge Roige said. "This is the university of Weirton Medical Center."

The effects have been impressive, with patients walking on a surgically repaired knee just hours after the operation. For Cox, he's thinking about more.

"It was a 40-year process of getting my knee in that condition, but to have it reversed where I can walk -- I'm thinking I may even run again one of these days," Cox said.

Typical time spent in a hospital for a knee replacement is around three to four days, but Cox was able to return home the same day his surgery was completed. Doctors say that age is really a nonfactor in determining recovery speed -- a patient's determination.

Local hospital unveils new replacement

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