CMC Arthroplasty – Anne Returns To Her Hobbies

Anne Schmitt returns to her hobbies following her CMC Arthroplasty surgery. CMC arthroplasty of the thumb is the common surgical procedure used to treat arthritis of the base of the thumb.

Anne Schmitt returns to her hobbies following her CMC Arthroplasty surgery. CMC arthroplasty of the thumb is the common surgical procedure used to treat arthritis of the base of the thumb.

Anne Schmitt has been playing the piano since she was a little girl.  She also knits, gardens and shows her Australian Shepherds.  As pain started developing in her thumbs, she eventually had to give up the things she enjoyed, “I started getting pain in my thumbs all the time… even picking up a piece of paper would trigger excruciating pain.” 

Anne tried injections and therapy to ease her pain but nothing seemed to help.  “The pain and dysfunction were interfering with my life.  When I couldn’t knit or garden, I knew it was time for surgery.”

In order to get back to the life Anne enjoyed she elected to have surgery, which would provide permanent relief of pain and return to function. 

Following Anne’s surgery, the recovery was five months, “I was in a cast for five weeks and a splint for four weeks.  Dr. Pater warned me that the recovery was long and would be frustrating at times,” Anne said.   Recovery did prove to be frustrating for Anne; nonetheless, as time passed she was gaining function and gratefulness.  “Dr. Pater is my hero because he has made such a difference in my life,” Anne commented.

Today you can find Anne working in her garden or grooming her Aussies.  Anne says it best, “I’m even starting to knit again which is perfect because I’m going to be a grandma.”

About Anne’s Surgery: Arthritis in the thumb joint is extremely common.  CMC arthroplasty of the thumb is the common surgical procedure used to treat arthritis of the base of the thumb.  It is a procedure which involves removing some of the bone at the base of the thumb. Then, a tendon is taken from a different area of the wrist and forearm and used to recreate the important ligament in the thumb and fill the void that is left by removal of the arthritic portion of the bone.  This provides a nice cushion for the thumb to function without pain instead of the “rusty” hinge that is present prior to the procedure from the arthritis. In a typical week Dr. Pater sees several new patients (5-10) with this problem. If things can be done to manage the symptoms such as cortisone, thumb bracing and arthritis medication then that is the preferred treatment option; nonetheless a definitive solution is surgery. Surgery allows permanent relief of pain and return to function. Dr. Pater performs 60-75 of these procedures every year or about 1-2 every week. 

Patient of the Week

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Definition of the human spirit of perseverance: Carolyn Lambert

Carolyn Lambert
Surgeon: Dr. William Cooney
Physical Therapist: Erin Blessing
Reason for orthopedic care: double shoulder repair

Carolyn Lambert is more than what meets the eye.   Yes, she came to us to have both her shoulders repaired; however, her story of inspiration runs much deeper. 

Carolyn was the definition of a true athlete.  If there was an Ironman, marathon, triathlon or any long race you can imagine, Carolyn was there.  In her athletic career Carolyn logged over 10,000 miles on a bike alone.

Life can change in an instant… “Out of the blue one day, I had a really high heart rate,” Carolyn explained.  “My normal resting heart rate was 65.  My target (exercise) heart rate was 135.”  One day Carolyn’s heart starting running in the 200s, “The highest I ever saw my heart go was 235.” 

Carolyn went to see her primary care doctor and after some testing her doctor discovered calcium on her heart.  “I tried all sorts of different medicines, but nothing seemed to work,” Carolyn said.  Her treatments quickly advanced to a treatment known as *cardiac ablation.

Carolyn and her husband began traveling to Chicago, Philadelphia and eventually Cleveland.  The 13th ablation treatment finally worked.    Nonetheless, during one of the 13 treatments they hit the natural sinus node in her heart (which is the natural pace maker).  The result: Carolyn now has an artificial pace maker.

To further complicate Carolyn’s road to recovery, a couple years into her heart treatments she was diagnosed with breast cancer, “I was very blessed they found it early, but I remember thinking ‘we haven’t figured out the heart yet’.”   Carolyn underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction.    “After we conquered cancer I was back to figuring out the heart because I was still having problems…  A doctor in Denver diagnosed me with POTS syndrome.  POTS syndrome means when I exercise my blood pressure drops.” 

To Carolyn’s dismay she was recognizing she needed a new hobby.  “When I first realized that my running was done, it was tough.  I kept it inside and didn’t want other people to see it (the struggle).  It was also tough on my husband…he was always there for me, but it’s hard when you don’t get the results you want,” she said.

“I needed a new sport,” Carolyn explained. “I wanted to try golf but first I needed to go see a great doctor that could fix my shoulders.”  One shoulder was always bothering Carolyn when she swam, due to a bone spur that had been nagging at her for years, “That shoulder just needed cleaned up,” Carolyn said.   The other shoulder was injured due to a dog jerking too hard on a leash.   

Since Carolyn has a pace maker Dr. Cooney couldn’t order an MRI.   He proceeded with a thorough history and physical exam, “I was 80% sure her diagnoses was a labrum tear on one shoulder while her other shoulder needed an arthroscopic clean-up,” Dr. Cooney explained.  “I was confident I could repair her shoulders, so together Carolyn and I decided to move forward with the surgeries.  During the surgeries both diagnoses were confirmed and we anticipated a successful recovery.”

Carolyn had her shoulders operated on six months apart.  “My shoulders are working…  Dr. Cooney did an excellent job and he is an excellent doctor,” Carolyn said.  “If you do your exercises you get things accomplished,” she added.

“We aren’t golfing as much as I thought we would.  Instead we ride motorcycles and go on trips,” Carolyn said with a smile.

At the time of publication Carolyn was cancer free with a pacing heart and working shoulders.  She is currently exploring surgical options for her painful hips.  Carolyn’s advice to others who find themselves in the face of adversity, “It will get better…  time will heal.”

*Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). Ablation usually uses long, flexible tubes (catheters) inserted through a vein in your groin and threaded to your heart to correct structural problems in your heart that cause an arrhythmia.

Cardiac ablation works by scarring or destroying tissue in your heart that triggers an abnormal heart rhythm. In some cases, ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from traveling through your heart and, thus, stops the arrhythmia.

Cardiac ablation is sometimes done through open-heart surgery, but it’s often done using catheters, making the procedure less invasive and shortening recovery times. (credit: Mayo Clinic Online)

Norma Conaway – Front Range Orthopedics & Spine Patient of the Week

Norma Conaway

Surgeon:  Dr. William Cooney

Reason for orthopedic care: double hip replacement

Norma Conaway received a double hip replacement . Performed by Dr. William Cooney of Front Range Orthopedics & Spine.

Norma Conaway received a double hip replacement.  Performed by Dr. William Cooney of Front Range Orthopedics & Spine.

Norma Conaway has been through three hip replacement surgeries.   Her first experience with Front Range Orthopedics & Spine was following a hip replacement by another office.  “Six months after my hip replacement I was still in pain.  My primary care doctor suggested I go see Dr. Cooney for another opinion.”

Norma was facing a failed hip replacement.  The diagnosis: the “stem” was loose (the “stem” is the hardware that extends down into the femur).

Norma and Dr. Cooney devised a game plan to replace her stem.   “After surgery with Dr. Cooney my pain went away.  Before I was in constant pain from my failed hip replacement not to mention the years of pain before I decided to have a hip replacement,” Norma said.

Six months after Norma’s revised hip replacement surgery her other hip began to hurt, “My other hip was deteriorating because of years of over compensation.”  Norma elected to have Dr. Cooney replace her other hip too.

“Now I can pick things up off the floor,” Norma said with a smile.  “Before my hip replacements I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes… now I can. I don’t limp anymore either.”

“Life is wonderful now that I don’t have pain.  I am so thankful.  I can do so much more now that I couldn’t do before.”

Meet Dr. William Cooney here.

Read more testimonials here.

Front Range Orthopedics & Spine New Location Now Open in Frederick!

Front Range Orthopedics & Spine is pleased to announce the opening of an additional location in Frederick, Colorado, along the I25 corridor at the Highway 52 exit.

“With the rapid growth that is taking place in the area, we wanted to be a part of it. Frederick and the Carbon Valley area are a great community and we are pleased to serve as the orthopedic and spine anchor,” said Dave Demchuk, Front Range Orthopedics & Spine CEO.

To schedule an appointment with an orthopedic and spine doctor in Frederick please call 303.772.1600.

Front Range Orthopedics & Spine is dedicated to comprehensive care that empowers patients to keep their bodies in pace with their passions. With over 42 years in the business and more than 120 years of combined experience, this team of doctors is truly dedicated to ensuring patients receive the highest quality orthopedic care and guidance. In keeping with the pursuit of excellent health care, Front Range is honored to serve as the new orthopedic and spine anchor in Carbon Valley as well as Longmont, Lafayette and Estes Park.

Rotator cuff repairs & double knee replacement

Francesca Repetto
Surgeon: Dr. Robert FitzGibbons
Reason for orthopedic care: rotator cuff repairs & double knee replacement

“I have more energy overall”

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Francesca’s first experience with Front Range Orthopedics & Spine was in 1998 when she started developing pain in her left arm.  When her weakness started causing her to drop things she decided to make an appointment with Dr. FitzGibbons.   The discovery: a major tear in the rotator cuff.  “The tear was due to many years of wear and tear: carrying kids and carrying too many groceries.”  Dr. FitzGibbons repaired Francesca’s tear with the results being “perfectly successful.”

In 2002 Francesca’s fate led her back to Front Range after she slipped on ice and tore both Rotator Cuffs.  “It was a freak accident… Dr. FitzGibbons repaired both shoulders, five months apart.”

Francesca went on her way for several years, but when the pain in her knees became unbearable she scheduled another appointment with Dr. FitzGibbons to discuss knee replacements, “The decision to have a knee replacement didn’t scare me at all.  Pain is exhausting.  It takes it out of you… I did what I had to do.”

Francesca had her first knee replacement in 2011, “I was on my feet the same day as surgery.  At six months I was still developing strength but it gave me back my life.”

In 2012, Francesca had her other knee replaced, “I can walk normal. I can get in and out of the car.  The pain is gone.  I have stiffness, but no pain.  Nothing like what I was living with before.”

“I have more energy overall now that my shoulders and knees are fixed.  I’m not dealing with pain anymore.  I have a lot more things on my ‘to-do list’.  I volunteer at the hospital and I make blankets for the Hope Cancer Center.”   To add to Francesca’s post-operative successes, “Because I had my shoulders repaired I was able to handle the fabric to make my granddaughter’s wedding gown.”

From ankle surgery to dancing on the beaches of Ireland, meet Heather Corey

Heather Corey
Surgeon: Dr. Gregg Koldenhoven
Reason for orthopedic care:  Talus Bone Surgery

“Dr. Koldenhoven – I have enclosed a photo of my recent trip to Ireland to illustrate my joy & success with the results of your 12/30/11 Talus bone surgery.  On this trip to Ireland I was able to fulfill a couple of dreams – horseback riding across the hills of Ireland and dancing on the shores of Galway Bay.  None of this would have been possible if not for your expert help.  I was mentally thanking you with every step!  Thank you for keeping me dancing!” – Heather Corey

Heather Corey, Front Range Orthopedics & Spine Patient of the Week

Heather Corey, Front Range Orthopedics & Spine Patient of the Week

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Heather Corey, Front Range Orthopedics & Spine Patient of the Week