October 20th, 2015

Before his surgery, Robert Hepler had a nasty limp that hurt him for years. He wasn’t able to sleep at night and the pain was affecting all of his activities, including his dog grooming business. “I had to take pain pills that sucked all the color out of my life,” says Robert.

Like many patients with knee pain, Robert says he had thought about knee replacement surgery. He was nervous and unsure about going through the surgery, however, because of the significance of joint replacement surgery. When he finally went in to see Dr. Suprock at OrthoCarolina, he was told about a study using a different type of knee replacement. “Dr. Suprock mentioned that I’d make a good candidate for the study and I was game for anything,” Robert recounts.

The study that Robert decided to participate in was for patients who were candidates for a partial knee replacement, as opposed to a total knee replacement. The study was being done to determine which method (if any) of partial knee replacement was better – uncemented (no cement used to attach the implant to the bone) or cemented (cement is used to attach the implant to the bone). Robert’s assignment to uncemented knee versus cemented knee was random, and he will not find out until the end of the study which implant he received.

“After surgery, my wife drove me home and I walked from the car into the house with the crutches all by myself. The change was almost instant”, Hepler says about his first day home. “Now I have no pain and no limp. I can cut the grass pushing the lawn mower. I can run around and play with my dog in the yard. I can go for walks with my wife as long as she wants. I can even play basketball. When I go to bed now, I sleep like a baby. It’s like I’m two different people. Before surgery, I was a ghost of myself, and now I’m back to being me.