When Ira Gerstler felt sharp and sudden pain in his knee while getting ready to go on an annual golf trip with his friends, the experience was all too familiar. The 57-year-old Middletown resident had been experiencing knee issues and pain since his early teens. This time, he knew he needed surgery – but not before attending the golf trip, albeit with an ice pack in hand.
A History of Pain
Ira began visiting hospitals in New York City around age 12 for what doctors diagnosed as joint mice – floating chips of bone or cartilage within the knee. Doctors told him then that he would likely develop arthritis in his later years. He underwent four surgeries – two on each knee – in an attempt to correct the problem, but his knees continued to worsen as he aged. His ongoing orthopaedic treatment included cortisone injections to reduce the "bone-on-bone" sensation, but when his pain struck again most recently, Ira knew he needed a more permanent fix.
"I knew that someday I would need knee replacement surgery. When I made a quality-of-life decision to do the surgery, I wanted the best doctor and facility for my care," says Ira, who asked his trusted family physician, Dr. Jeff Felzenberg, who he would personally choose if he had to undergo knee replacement. Ira's physician recommended David L. Chalnick, M.D., a fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and Medical Director of The Joint Replacement Center at Monmouth Medical Center.
Comprehensive Care in a Quality Setting
Prior to undergoing total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Chalnick in January, Ira attended a pre-surgery seminar, hosted by Monmouth Medical Center, "which was truly important to prepare me for surgery and my post-op expectations," he says. "I followed all the pre-surgery recommendations and credit them with an easier recovery," adding that he felt completely comfortable both before and after surgery.
"Everyone I encountered at Monmouth Medical Center truly loved their work and had such positive attitudes – the level of care I received was very impressive," he says. "The complete experience was so positive that I now ask myself why anyone would travel into the city when we have such high quality care right here at Monmouth Medical Center."
A Promising Future
Ira has completed six weeks of post-surgical rehabilitation and is doing well. "I anticipate needing my other knee and a hip replacement sometime in the future, but I'm not afraid," he says. "It may sound hard to believe, but I actually look forward to those repairs knowing I'll be in the care of Monmouth Medical Center."
As for Ira's plans right now? "I'm getting ready to test drive my new knee on the golf course, without my ice pack."
To learn more about the Joint Replacement Program at Monmouth Medical Center or to inquire about ongoing free patient education sessions, call 732.923.7666 or visit barnabashealth.org/mmcjoint.
About Monmouth Medical Center
Located in Long Branch, N.J., Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, along with The Unterberg Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, is one of New Jersey's largest academic medical centers and has been a teaching affiliate of Philadelphia's Drexel University College of Medicine for more than 40 years. From its earliest days, Monmouth Medical Center has been a leader in surgical advancement and has introduced many technological firsts to the region, including robotic surgery and other minimally invasive techniques. The hospital is routinely recognized by HealthGrades, the nation's largest premier independent health care quality company, for excellence in both emergency medicine and maternity care. U.S. News & World Reporthas recognized Monmouth as a regional leader in cancer, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology and neurosurgery.