Betsy Bazur-Leidy's Total Knee Replacement

Betsy Bazur-Leidy underwent total knee replacement surgery at UW Hospital and Clinics. Here's her story.


Betsy, standup paddleboarding after her total knee replacement.I have intended to write about my total knee replacement since having it done three months ago (May 2013) but I didn't know how best to put my joy and enthusiasm into words. But now, I think it's time to try.


I'd like to believe that I am on the "younger" side of someone in need of a knee replacement. When I turned 50 I decided to meet with Dr. Illgen to see if I would be a candidate.


My knee has been mostly fused (maximum flexion of about 25 degrees) since childhood as a result of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. As a result, my muscles in that leg never fully developed and my knee joint was misshapen and had significant deterioration. I began to notice more pain and less endurance as I got older.


Being a nurse at UW Hospital, I asked a lot of people whom they would recommend for my replacement. Not surprisingly, each of the surgeons had glowing reviews, but for some reason I felt Dr. Illgen would be the best match for me. From the moment I walked into the hospital until I was discharged (a three-night stay), the care was excellent. The nurses (of course!), the anesthesiology team, the ortho team, the dietary staff and the housekeepers all extended themselves to me and my family.


After being discharged I received nursing care and physical therapy at home for two weeks and then began outpatient PT with a wonderful and very knowledgeable physical therapist. It is now three months later and I haven't looked back. I am more active then I have ever been in my life. My knee has 80 degrees of flexion (much more than expected). I never knew how much my life would be enhanced by having a knee that feels strong and that is completely pain-free, and as a bonus - a knee that bends!


I'm still gushing, I know, but if you have any fears or doubts about proceeding with your own surgery, know that your outcome could change the quality of your life. It is really important to note, however, that adhering to your PT exercises is incredibly important. I thought of it as my job - I still do. The surgeon can replace the parts but only if you do everything prescribed by your physical therapist will you be more likely to meet your post-operative potential.


If you are reading this, I would like to personally welcome you to join the JRC (Joint Replacement Club). We are everywhere. We are of all ages, all colors, with all degrees of ability and mobility, and we are walking and biking and dancing and swimming and catching the Frisbee and playing more with our loved ones.