Double knee replacement has advantages

"It's a mechanical phenomenon ... there's nothing magic about it."

Orthopaedic surgeon Amal Das drew out a plan for outdoorsman Skip Sheldon to have both knees replaced at once because his cartilage wore out.

"I couldn't walk; I couldn't stand," recalled the 73-year-old retired mechanical engineer. "It was bone to bone ... and there was pain from standing, and that's what was really bothering me."

Das explained, "If you're healthy and have two bad knees that hurt equally severely, the recovery is the same for one knee as it is for two knees."

"A lot of people talk about the excruciating pain of recovery," Sheldon said. "Compared to the pain beforehand, I didn't have any pain in recovery."

Years after the surgeries, Sheldon's flexibility remains good during this checkup at Southeastern Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, a department of Pardee Hospital.

Knee replacements are lasting longer -- upward of 20 years -- and double replacements are becoming more and more common.

"The advantage is that it's cheaper to get them done at the same time," Das said. "It's far more convenient."

Sheldon added, "They're wonderful; they're wonderful. I do anything I want to do."

He has the full picture of quality of life restored.

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