Beverly Smith isn’t used to being held back.
The now-retired Cabot resident loves to be on the move. She longs to travel. She lives for cruises and trips with her husband, and the freedom to do as they please.
Last year, that way of life came to an abrupt halt when knee pain sidelined her. X-rays and scans revealed her knee was fine, but her right hip was not. A total replacement was necessary.
“I thought I was too young,” said the 63-year-old Smith. “I wasn’t ready for it.”
Smith turned to UAMS for help. She was treated by Paul Edwards, M.D., a hip-and-knee surgeon at UAMS and a professor in the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Any worries she had were soon put at ease by Edwards and the rest of the UAMS orthopaedics staff.
“I thought I couldn’t be so lucky, I felt comfortable with Dr. Edwards,” said Smith. “It was like talking with someone I knew. He talked to me and showed me what was wrong. I got incredible quality care from Dr. Edwards and the entire staff at UAMS.”
Smith’s hip showed signs of osteoarthritis, as the result of wear and tear in the hip joint from arthritis.
“A normal hip joint has a ball and room for cartilage, but Mrs. Edwards’s hip had no cartilage space and had a few cysts,” said Edwards. “This causes a lot of debilitating pain, which makes almost any activity hard to do.”
Immediately following the procedure, Smith noticed an odd feeling in her hip.
“The pain was gone,” she said.
Edwards said research shows the UAMS method of having an individualized plan for each patient is the most successful approach to having good outcomes rather than relying on a new technique of using robotic-arm technology.
At UAMS, the orthopaedics staff meets with patients and their families to talk about the procedure and recovery process as well as identify and lessen possible risk factors.
“They put me at ease and it made a difference,” said Smith. “A huge difference.”
Each UAMS orthopaedic surgeon specializes in a particular area. This includes hip and knee, foot and ankle, sports medicine and trauma. Four are fellowship trained in hip and knee replacement, the most of any joint replacement provider in Arkansas.
“This allows us to narrow our focus and stay up to date on the best practices in our area, which translates to superb care for our patients,” said Edwards.
A designated staff of nurses and health professionals care for patients following surgery. Post-operative care includes a visit with a physical therapist to begin recovery. Most patients return home within 24 hours of their surgery.
“This plan decreases hospital readmissions, as well as complications and infections,” said Edwards. “It improves patient outcomes in a way new robotic technology has not been able to accomplish.”
Smith said since her care at UAMS, she has been able to return to the lifestyle she loves.
“I can do anything and I don’t hurt,” she said. “With pain, you’re limited. Now I don’t feel any limitations to anything.”