I have not experienced hip nor knee replacement surgery, but I did have surgery on my right shoulder after dislocating it during a basketball game. I am very capable of sympathizing with the discomfort involved with not being able to have full mobility of a part of my body along with the pain associated with trying to use it during my everyday functioning. I experienced this severe level of pain and discomfort for about two years, and because of this pain, I was unable to complete my dream of playing basketball.

My father, on the other hand, had surgery on both of his knees, one year apart from each other. I witnessed his extreme discomfort every time he wanted to walk, or the pain he felt when he tried to bend his knees to put on shoes or climb into the car. He went into surgery with high hopes he would feel no pain afterwards and all would be healed. He suffers from excessive weight, and he was hoping once his knees were fixed he would be able to exercise again.

That did not happen, and the pain he expresses seem more severe now than it did in the beginning. My dad is unable to stand up for long periods of time, and often cannot complete family activities such as a walk in the park, or following my younger brother around town to listen to him play in his band.

It has been three years since his second surgery, and he is still suffering. I feel very bad for him. I think an orthopedic surgeon could improve patient satisfaction by doing a few things. First, be very clear with the patient about the success rate of surgery so they do not go into it with high hopes of it being a 100% fail proof.

Second, I would have liked to see my father become more involved in some type of follow-up exercise program to strengthen his knees after surgery that would be accompanied by education classes talking about the healing process. When my father came out of surgery, they gave him a piece of paper and explained some of these things with a required follow-up appointment to check the results of the surgery itself, but not to check on the mental and physiological well-being of himself personally.

I think orthopedic surgeons need to have a strong network of support to offer to the patients to try to heal their whole being. It is like an alcoholic that cannot just take away the drink and be healed. They need a stronger network to educate them and support them as a whole being. I know his bad knees are a primary result of his excessive weight. He needs a whole program support system, not just surgery.

Finally, I think that if a second surgical procedure is needed for the same issue, either due to repercussions or simply needing a second follow-up surgery, a reduced fee should be offered.

2016 Scholarship Finalist

Sarah K

New Market, Maryland

The final question on the application was an essay question.

The essay question was:

How can orthopedic surgeons doing hip and knee replacement surgery improve patient satisfaction?