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Knee Replacement: Sam's Story

Sam Grasso: Striking Back at Knee Pain with Surgery at Holy Cross HospitalStriking Back at Knee Pain

Sam Grasso is the kind of guy who gets the job done.When his wife wanted a new kitchen, he remodeled theirs. When his family wanted a deck, he built it.When he needed firewood, he cut it and split it.

“I’ve bought firewood only once in the 25 years we have lived in our house,” the 74-year-old says. “That year, my knee pain was so bad I couldn’t handle it myself.”

Getting the Right Treatment

To determine what was causing his pain and to fix it, Sam had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in 2004. He learned he had osteoarthritis, which is a breakdown of cartilage in the joints.
Cartilage serves as a shock absorber in joints allowing the bones to glide over one another.

“My first surgeon did his best to fix my knee, but four months after the surgery I was still limping and in a lot of pain,” Sam says. “It was a very bad experience so I decided to see another doctor.”

Sam’s primary care physician referred him to Clifford Hinkes,MD, orthopedic surgeon, Holy Cross Hospital. Dr. Hinkes performed another arthroscopic procedure but this time the outcome was much better—no pain.

“I was able to trim the damaged cartilage, remove loose particles and debris, and clean the joint, but it was only a temporary fix,” Dr. Hinkes explains. “Due to the severity of the osteoarthritis, I told Sam he would eventually need to have total knee replacement surgery.”

It wasn’t until three years later that Sam returned to Dr. Hinkes’ office.

“This time around the cartilage was basically gone and the pain was debilitating,” Sam explains. “It was bone rubbing on bone and every day, every step was painful.”

The two agreed it was time for Sam to have a total knee replacement, which substitutes metal and plastic pieces for virtually every component of the knee joint.

Experience Counts

The Joint Center at Holy Cross Hospital features a specially trained, multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and therapists.

“Physicians at Holy Cross Hospital perform thousands of orthopedic procedures each year, including hundreds of joint replacement surgeries,” says Antoni Goral, MD, medical director, Joint Center.

The center’s specialized program offers a continuum of care and support throughout the joint replacement process.

Two New Knees

In April 2007, Dr. Hinkes performed knee replacement surgery on Sam’s right knee. “Thanks to less invasive approaches to joint replacement surgery, patients are experiencing less pain, a shorter healing process and less scarring,” Dr. Hinkes explains.

After surgery, patients follow a standardized care plan that ensures coordinated nursing care, pain management, and physical and occupational therapy to help accelerate progress.

“The first thing I realized after the surgery was that there was no grinding in my joint and no pain,” Sam recalls.

Sam’s first knee replacement surgery went so well that when his other knee started giving him problems in 2011, he didn’t hesitate to have it replaced too.

“In February, I made my wife Valentine’s dinner, had the surgery the next day, and was home in time to celebrate her birthday on the 20th,” Sam says. “The outpatient therapy provided by Holy Cross Home Care after my second surgery was very good.”

No Comparison

Two of Sam’s brothers have had knee replacement surgeries elsewhere, but Sam’s experience has been the smoothest. “I credit Dr. Hinkes and Holy Cross Hospital with the fact that I have not had any problems,” Sam says. “The difference is amazing.”

To find a Holy Cross Hospital physician specializing in orthopedics, call 301-754-8800 or search the Physician’s directory.

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