“Rebuilt” by Dr. Robert Zanotti – Innovative Procedure, Inspired Relationship

Ruth Twardzik talks about her unique relationship with Dr. Zanotti and the pioneering procedure they both brought to Lorain County.

Ruth Twardzik has struggled with arthritis since 1965. Now she jokes that she has been rebuilt by Dr. Robert Zanotti. He’s replaced both of her knees, one hip, one shoulder and this year the second shoulder was due for replacement.

Ruth says, “My sister was with me at my last appointment and he said, ‘Would you like to do another injection or should we schedule surgery?’ She just looked at me, and I knew it was time to get it done. And I’m glad I did. Just like last time, I went in, had it done, healed well and didn’t really need pain meds.”  

“Last time” Ruth had her should done, in 2007, it was a bit of a bigger deal than she originally realized. Because the damage to her shoulder was so extensive, she qualified for a brand new (at the time) procedure called a reverse total shoulder replacement. And it just so happened that Dr. Robert Zanotti had the unique expertise to complete the pioneering procedure.

But back then, all she knew was that corticosteroid injections were no longer cutting it. “I couldn’t get my arm up anymore, and I couldn’t use my hand. It was starting to keep me in the house.”

It wasn’t until she got to the hospital that she fully realized she played a key role in a pioneering surgical technique.

“When I first got there, the nurse told me, ‘You are historic.’ I barely paid attention. I just knew Dr. Zanotti was going to fix me. But then another nurse came in and asked for my permission for a team to learn from the surgery. That’s when they told me I was the first person to have a reverse shoulder replacement in Lorain County and maybe even in NE Ohio!”

The surgery involves implanting a “cup and ball” shaped device in the shoulder. A normal shoulder is considered a “ball and socket” joint, with the rounded portion of the upper arm being the ball and a shallow, dish-shaped structure attached to the shoulder blade being the socket. During the reverse shoulder surgery, the ball portion of the joint is attached to the shoulder blade and the cup is attached to the upper arm, thus “reversing” the normal anatomy. This changes the mechanics of the shoulder to allow the joint to maneuver even though there isn’t a functional rotator cuff.

Both times Ruth had the reverse total shoulder replacement, she came away with a fixed shoulder and a grateful heart. “Thank God for Dr. Z,” says Ruth. “I always hope I don’t have to go see him, but I’m glad he’s there when I need him.”

People ask Ruth why she and her husband travel from Parma out to Lorain County to go to The Center for Orthopedics, but she tells them it’s worth the drive.  

“These folks have been taking care of me for over 20 years. I have been in physical therapy so many times and each time, it is amazing. When I walk in, everyone is so caring from the woman at the front desk to the nurses and all the staff and doctors. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

And Ruth encourages anyone suffering to go see the docs at CFO too. “I know when you’re hurting you put it off. I know people hesitate, but don’t. I recommend that anybody that has trouble go to CFO and get whatever is hurting looked. Just get it fixed. They know what their doing.”.

If you’re suffering and have been putting off a doctor visit, consider a consultation with Dr. Robert Zanotti or another of our pioneering physicians here at The Center for Orthopedics. Just call 440.329.2800 to make your appointment today.

Add comment Posted in  Replacements ,Testimonials July 6, 2017

Water skiing, Phys Ed Teacher Keeps Doing it All with New Hip

Richard Garvelink (center) with Dr. Robert Zanotti and Bob Harasty.

When Dr. Robert Zanotti walked into Richard Garvelink’s examining room, Garvelink said he gave him a “funny look.” As it turns out, the look was genuine surprise.

Dr. Zanotti said, ‘I thought you were going to be 75. That hip is not pretty.”

Richard, however, is only 60, and also very active. He’s a high school physical education teacher who likes to waterski. However, in the past 2 years, each time he’d go out on the water, it would take longer and longer to recover. At first it was one full day of recovery and then finally 3 or 4 days, but it was when he could no longer cross his leg that he thought he’d better see someone as a “precautionary thing.” He had no idea how bad it had gotten.

Dr. Zanotti suggested a hip replacement and Richard said, “Not if I can’t get back to being active afterwards. I had fun wearing this hip out and I would do it again.”

But Dr. Zanotti assured him he could most certainly remain active after recovery and do so with less pain. This was good news for Richard, who has summer hiking plans in Yellowstone. “I did decide I better cancel the 9.5 mile trip we scheduled, but we’re keeping some of the lower mile hikes.”

Richard had surgery on March 8th at UH Elyria Medical Center and was in the hospital for 2.5 days. He especially appreciated the hospital therapist, Sharon Hill, affectionately known as “Sarge,” who Richards says is, “encouraging and professional.”

Regular post-op Physical Therapy was done in in Sheffield and Richard said it was a great experience. “Everyone was wonderful. You get out what you put in, and I wanted to get back to skiing and hiking, so I pushed it, but not too much. I was encouraged and pleased with the results.”    

And those results were good. Richard describes his pain level as no more than a 1.5 and was able to return to work at the school within 7 weeks — strong enough to teach the kids Phys Ed.

“Endurance is an issue. At 7 weeks, I can walk about 4 – 5 miles, but I may be a little tired because of it. My students were happy to see me, so it’s been worth it.”

Richard says he would highly recommend Dr. Zanotti and the Physician’s Assistant Bob Harasty. “They are a great team. I was incredibly impressed with every bit of care that I got from them and the staff at UH Elyria and the Physical Therapy team.”

For final thoughts, Richard encourages active people to get checked out. “We active folks tend to ignore physical pain hoping it will go away. But I would absolutely recommend getting it checked out if you can’t do what you normally do. Just get it fixed and move forward. It might ruin a summer of activity, but get it done for all the other summer’s ahead in your future.”

Thank for sharing Richard! If you are having trouble with your hip, don’t delay. Call Dr. Robert Zanotti at CFO to make an appointment. 440.329.2800.



Add comment Posted in  Replacements ,Testimonials June 7, 2017

Pain Free After Hip Replacement

Walter Mackin was pain free and back to work in one week after Dr. John Krebs performed hip replacement surgery.

Ten years ago, construction contractor, Walter Mackin, fell 20 feet off a ladder directly onto concrete and shattered his pelvis. His femur bone went through the back of his pelvis and he reset the hip himself that day. Understandably, he had some trouble afterwards. But he decided to wait on a hip replacement.

“I would hear horror stories from friends and see lawsuit commercials on TV. I decided to just live with the fact that one of my legs was 1 inch shorter than the other.”

During that 10 years of waiting, Walter continued having good medical experiences with the doctors at The Center for Orthopedics. He had his right rotator cuff repaired by Dr. Robert Zanotti and then, after a car accident, had damage repaired his other shoulder… again by Dr. Zannoti.

Walter’s wife worked with Dr. John Krebs at the hospital and knew about the good experiences his patients were having with newer hip replacement technology. All the while, Walter carried around CFO business cards to pass out to his construction worker friends that needed work done. “I’d always just hand them a car and tell them, ‘These guys are good.’”

One day, he realized, it was time to take care of the hip. “I am 73 and my father lived to be 100. It was time to take care of it,” Walter says. He also advises others not to wait. “Don’t be foolish. Don’t listen to the horror stories. Why live with the problems? Don’t hesitate. It’s a better outcome than what you’ve got.”

He had the hip replacement surgery with Dr. Krebs and left the hospital in 3 days. Best of all, he reports he was pain free and physical therapy was a breeze.

“The day after surgery, they told me to get up and walk to the door, but I just walked the entire hallway and all around the nurses station. They made me carry the walker, but I didn’t really need it.”

The next day Walter walked to physical therapy, where they informed him he was way ahead of schedule on recovery. He was able to get in and out of his car that day, and went home the next day. “I carried my walker into my follow up with Dr. Krebs. I thought he might want me to keep it around, but I didn’t ever use it.”

Walter was back at work the next week. And, he says, that was the only time he had any pain. “Honestly, I didn’t have any pain or discomfort until I went up in a crawl space for an inspection and had to duck walk. That was my first week after surgery. That night I was a little sorry, but it didn’t kill me. Believe me, after shattering my pelvis, I know about pain. And with this surgery, I didn’t have any.”

Walter has mixed feelings about waiting 10 years, but says he probably should have had the procedure sooner. “On the one hand, there was better technology, but I wouldn’t advise waiting that long. CFO has done a lot of work for me. And they have done an excellent job each time. I have been busted up and all my procedure’s had great recovery time. If you’re afraid to go, just do it. Don’t be afraid. Go do it.”

There is, however, one drawback to having a new hip. Walter’s legs are now the same height again, but all his shoes have one inch rise on one side.

“After 10 years, I’ve got a lot of these shoes. Maybe I can take them back to the repair shop and have them all put back to normal.”

Thanks for sharing your story, Walter. If you’ve been putting off hip surgery because you’re afraid, take Walter’s advice. Call CFO and make an appointment with Dr. John Krebs at 440.329.2800.

Add comment Posted in  Replacements ,Testimonials May 8, 2017

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