Ruth Sheldon's Knee Replacement Surgery

Ruth Sheldon underwent knee replacement surgery, performed by Dr. Richard Illgen. Here's her story.


"Grandmother, you're limping," came the sweet but surprised voice of a 10-year-old grandson as his D.C. family and visiting aunt, uncle and cousin toured the Washington mall on a crisp November day just before Thanksgiving.


With exasperation I acknowledged this. Of course I was limping. Who wouldn't be, with a knee in pain and, now and then, uncooperative and buckling?


Shortly afterward I begged to hail a cab. (The Metro is the usual means of getting around in D.C. and the boys - 10, 11 and 12 - were all competent at this.)  Walking, dancing, ice skating and now a limp and a cab, and the necessity to use bannisters and railings to pull myself up stairs or steady myself going down. A slow decline that I'd ignored.


Some time elapsed before I did something. Previously, there had been successful visits to an excellent physical therapist at the UW for spinal problems. I confided my concerns to this young woman, whom I had grown to trust and admire. She gave me a list, as required professionally, of orthopedists, and I fathomed Dr. Illgen's name from this. After consultations and studies, and armed with the given explanations, I chose to have Makoplasty© for a partial knee replacement.


Dr Illgen had been exact in his descriptions and information and willing to answer and anticipate my questions. The fact that it had been done in Belgium successfully prior to its use in the U.S. and Dr. Illgen's extensive use of it swayed me.


The operation was not fun - awkward, with post-op swelling, bandage changes, fumbling around with tubes and pills. After two nights in hospital with excellent nursing I was wheeled out to the clapping of the nursing staff. Home with a visiting nurse service for a week - again professional, personable, punctual. Driven to physical therapy by a friend and family, which was given by excellent and personable staff.


I was working at my profession by day 18 and soon back to dancing and, with the help of another excellent coach, ice skating. A trip to Paris as a birthday gift from one of my daughters found us perusing the boulevards of the city on foot for hours a day.


The birthday was my 80th and I am ever so grateful for the skill, knowledge and resources that made it possible for me to be able to obtain such good results in the hands of such good teams and Dr. Illgen.