A Celebratory Toss of the Cane After Knee Replacement Surgery


For two years, Sandra Pepi of Maynard suffered from severe knee pain due to arthritis. “Walking was very difficult. It got to the point where the pain limited my daily life. I could not do the things I enjoy doing like visiting stores, seeing friends, and going to the beach,” she explains.

She tried over-the-counter medications, cortisone and gel shots, which she describes as “temporary band-aids.” Finally, she made an appointment with Matt Sloan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and Emerson’s director of robotics for orthopedic surgery. She asked him, “How will I know I am ready for knee replacement surgery?”

Dr. Sloan replied, “You will know when the time comes.”

Robotic-Assisted Surgery Accelerates Recovery

Soon after, Sandra called the office and scheduled surgery for January 2023, after the busy holiday season. Dr. Sloan performed a right knee replacement surgery, aided by Mako, robotic technology with a real-time 3D virtual joint model, that results in more precision during these types of surgeries. As a result, patients often recover faster and with less pain than traditional joint replacements.

After a brief stay at Emerson, Sandra went home and started her recovery. “A physical therapist from Emerson Home Care came to my home and aided my recovery with physical therapy and exercises. Less than a month after the surgery, I was no longer in pain. By the end of two months, all of my mobility restrictions were gone. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited; I threw my cane across the hall!”

“Sandra’s positive experience is quite common for people who have robotic-assisted joint replacement surgery,” explains Dr. Sloan. “It is a game-changer for many people who live active lives and do not want pain to slow them down. I enjoy getting to know patients, discuss options with them, and then after they have the procedure, see them embrace life, pain-free.”

Expert Care Just Down the Road

Sandra completed twice-weekly physical therapy at Emerson’s Clough Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies in Concord to gain strength in her knee. Now, just two months after surgery, she lives a happy, pain-free life, which includes visiting all of her favorite places. She looks forward to going into the ocean unassisted this summer.

“Before my surgery, I needed an army of people to walk me through the sand down to the ocean, help me balance in the water, and finally help me get back to our beach chairs,” she recalls.

“It is priceless to have this high level of care with doctors and clinicians I trust, right down the road. Dr. Sloan joined Emerson after his fellowship training at Brigham and Women’s in Boston. There is no need to go into Boston for great care. My doctor left Boston to come to Emerson! We are so lucky to have advanced care here, in our own community,” Sandra gratefully explains.

For information about joint replacement surgery at Emerson and to request an appointment, visit www.emersonhealth.org/orthopedics.