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Plymouth doctor uses new technology to replace knees

July 12, 2011

Dr. Anthony McPherron, of Plymouth, stands with knee replacement blocks that greatly improve the quality of surgeries.

PLYMOUTH — Grovertown resident Yvonne Daley, a Head Start teacher, knew she had to do something about the pain in her knees in 2009. She had been taking anti-inflammatory medication and pain pills prescribed by her regular doctor for several years, but at that point there was nothing else he could do for her.
“The pain just gradually got worse and worse,” said Daley, adding that it was during a Cub Scout trip with her son that the pain became unbearable.
In January 2009, Daley met with Dr. Anthony McPherron, who works for IU Health Laporte Physicians and Specialty Orthopedics Inc. in Plymouth and operates in 5 area hospitals: Bremen, Mishawaka, LaPorte, Knox, and Winamac. McPherron is an expert in knee replacement surgery and also works on designing knee replacement technology.
McPherron recommended knee replacement for Daley using new Prophecy technology. The technology involves using a scan of the patient’s knee to make a model that surgeons use before getting into the operating room. Using guiding blocks on the model of the patient’s knee, the surgeon is able to find the exact alignment and placement of the knee replacement. Before this technology existed, surgeons would drill metal rods into the knee to find the correct alignment. The problem with doing this, McPherron said, is that the rods are smaller than the canal in the knee, allowing for “wiggle room” that eventually contributes to the wear of the replacement.
Other benefits of the technology include cutting about 10-15 minutes off operating time, decreasing pain and blood loss, and speeding up recovery time. The knee replacements done using this technology also last much longer, about 30 years as opposed to 10 using the previous technique.
“(McPherron) showed me how it worked and (said), the surgery is better, the recovery is better,” said Daley. “There was no question about it — that’s what I wanted.”
“Yvonne had bad alignment before the surgery,” said McPherron. “Without (the technology) we would have had to do a lot more work inside the knee. We probably cut 20-25 minutes off her operation.”
Daley’s knees were replaced in two separate surgeries. Now, two years later, Daley said that the difference in how she feels is significant.
“It has improved everything in my life — the way I feel, the way I walk,” said Daley. “Just the simplest things — I sleep with no pillows, I don’t take pain pills, I don’t even take a Tylenol.”
McPherron said that he has operated on more than 400 patients in northern Indiana using this type of technology. The most rewarding part for him is experiencing the patient’s gratitude once they realize they can engage in their favorite activities without knee pain.
“People like Yvonee, who six months out — they won’t let you leave the room until they give you a hug,” said McPherron. “These really are life-changing surgeries.”
McPherron is a 1986 graduate of Plymouth High School and coaches gymnastics there, as well as serving as the sports doctor for the school.

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