Gail Blayde, 61, is an active member of her church and regularly visits local hospitals to comfort elderly or ill patients. Recently, she was forced to scale back on visits because of severe pain in her knees that made her dependent on a wheelchair.
“Before I had knee pain, I was very active and also had a physically demanding job at FedEx,” says Gail. “The pain became so severe that my quality of life was impacted, and I had to rely on a walker and wheelchair to get around.”
Now retired, Gail took a cruise in May 2016, but she was highly discouraged after she couldn’t enjoy the vacation or go on any excursions. She decided she needed to take steps to regain her mobility. She met with Dr. Peter Lindy of East Memphis Orthopedic Group.
Dr. Lindy uses a relatively new technology for knee replacements called ConforMIS. Customized knee implants are sized and shaped to fit each patient’s unique anatomy for all stages of osteoarthritis of the knee. ConforMIS allows the surgeon to reverse the traditional approach to knee replacement. Rather than making the patient fit the implant, ConforMIS makes the implant fit the patient.
The technique involves a CT scan of the patient which is then sent to a 3D printer. The printer develops a wax mold of the patient’s knee that is used to develop the metal components of the replacement knee. Doctors custom instruments to place the custom piece in the patient.
“Theoretically, if the knee replacement fits the person better, they will feel better, and if they feel better, they will function in a more normal manner,” says Dr. Lindy. “I like to think of it as a custom tailored suit versus a suit off the rack. ConforMIS makes for a better fit.”
Gail had her first ConforMIS knee replacement in June 2017. Her recovery went so well that she had her other knee replaced just two months later. She is doing much better and is on the road to living a more active life again.
“I can now walk without a walker or wheelchair, and I don’t have the fear of falling anymore,” says Gail. She’s also back to visiting the ill and elderly and making an impact on the Memphis community.
To learn more about ConforMIS knee implants, visit Eastmemphisortho.com.
By Christin Yates
Photo by Tindall Stephens