Bryan Garnett

Bryan GarnettBryan’s knee problems started in college and progressed over time, despite three previous surgeries. By his early 50s, the cartilage in Bryan’s knees – which acts as a shock-absorber and provides a cushion between the bones to reduce friction – had worn away.

“My knees were bone to bone,” says the high school teacher and wrestling coach. “It was getting really bad. People were constantly telling me, ‘You’re walking funny.’”

The final straw came after some of his wrestlers accidentally barreled into him during practice, knocking him over. Bryan’s knees swelled up and the pain intensified. “I finally said to my wife, ‘I think it’s time.’”

The Jackson resident selected Monmouth Medical Center orthopaedic surgeon David Chalnick, M.D., who recommended replacing both knees at the same time. The highly experienced joint replacement specialist felt Bryan was a great candidate for bilateral knee replacement -- which provides a number of advantages for certain patients, versus two separate operations.

“Bilateral knee replacement is certainly more difficult than a single knee replacement, however, the overall recovery is quicker,” says Dr. Chalnick, medical director of The Joint Replacement Center at Monmouth Medical Center. “In the right patient, typically young and healthy, this can be a great option.”

Bryan spent about four days in the hospital, followed by a week in a local rehabilitation facility. He then returned home and attended outpatient physical therapy sessions several times a week for the next month.

About six weeks after the surgery, Bryan had his last visit with Dr. Chalnick. “He was so impressed with my range of motion and the way my legs look,” says Bryan. “The results were so good, he doesn’t need to see me for a year.”

Bryan also credits the support of his family as a key to his success. “From preparing the house for when I arrived home, to driving me to my PT visits, their encouragement was so helpful,” he says.

Giving back

Bryan has started volunteering with the joint replacement information session group.

He wants others to know that joint replacement “gives you your life back.”

“ You’re not sitting at the edge of the bed in the morning looking for your anti-inflammatories, getting the nerve up to stand because your hip or knees hurt,” he said.

For more information on the Joint Replacement Program at Monmouth Medical Center, call 732-923-7666 or visit barnabashealth.org/mmcjoint. To learn about volunteer opportunities at Monmouth Medical Center, call 732-923-6670.