Carol W How Total Knee Replacement Surgery Landed Her Back on the Slopes

Before my surgeries, it was increasingly more difficult to walk, to exercise, to ski because of the pain. Consequently, the knee replacement surgery was like a miracle to me.

Carol Welsch of West Orange, NJ, had such a positive experience when she had her first knee replacement surgery at Clara Maass that she came back less than three years later to have the other knee replaced.

In Carol's words...
“A hidden gem: that is how I feel about Clara Maass Medical Center. My experience could not have been more positive. From my first encounter with my surgeon and his staff, to the hospital team that cared for me post-op, to the rehabilitation staff who worked tirelessly with me, it was an A+ experience in all areas. Yes, it was difficult on some days but I was determined and so was the team to help me to recover my active lifestyle. Before my surgeries, it was increasingly more difficult to walk, to exercise, to ski because of the pain. Consequently, the knee replacement surgery was like a miracle to me. TWICE. Dr. Femino is in a class by himself – a talented surgeon and a caring human being who encouraged me to rediscover my best and strongest self. I was out of bed and walking the first day of my surgery. And the transitional care unit at Clara Maass is excellent. I had wonderful therapists from start to finish. While it was a challenging experience to get well, I feel blessed and grateful to all of the people who got me here.”

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Carol Welsch was 60 when she decided to take up skiing, an activity she enjoyed with her grandchildren. After nine years, a few injuries and the deterioration of one knee, she discovered she needed knee replacement surgery.

The West Orange mother and grandmother chose to go to Frank Femino, M.D., the Medical Director of the Joint & Spine Institute at Clara Maass Medical Center, last fall. She was inspired by her husband Don’s successful hip replacement performed by Dr. Femino. Now, following knee replacement, Mrs. Welsch feels great and will return to the ski slopes this winter.

Dr. Femino offers small-incision total knee replacement. He also uses state-of-the-art pain management to minimize post-operative pain and quickly return patients to active lifestyles. Through Dr. Femino and his orthopedic team, patients can expect minimized blood loss, decreased pain during rehabilitation, a shorter hospital stay, and reduced scarring.

“It’s important to me to make sure that every patient becomes a success story,” says Dr. Femino. “My goal is to get patients back to doing things they enjoy.”

Dr. Femino, Chief of Orthopedics at CMMC, has performed more than 4,000 joint replacement surgeries, primarily of the hip and knee. His surgery experience ranges from routine procedures to those considered “high risk” as well as those rarely attempted or compromised by previous surgeries.

Last November, Mrs. Welsch became another one of his success stories. Just 24 hours after surgery, she was walking with minimal assistance and was able to return to work in three weeks. She took part in group physical therapy, which inspired and motivated her.

“It feels like a miracle when you experience day-to-day improvement,” Mrs. Welsch said. “The experience I had with my therapist and those who struggled along with me encouraged me to succeed.

” Mrs. Welsch said other factors also added to her success. She followed exercise tips and read information provided by Dr. Femino before her operation. She attended a seminar by Dawn Bibbo, RN, MSN, ONC, the Service Line Manager for Orthopedics, offered every Tuesday for orthopedic patients to prepare them for surgery.

It has been less than a year since her knee replacement and Mrs. Welsch said she is nearly back to normal. She no longer experiences pain or hesitation when walking down a flight of stairs. She recently took a trip to Oregon with her husband and is planning a ski trip with her granddaughter this winter.

Mrs. Welsch was so pleased with her experience, she wrote a letter about Dr. Femino to Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO of Barnabas Health, and Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., President and CEO of CMMC. She said, “Dr. Frank Femino is a smart, caring and skillful physician. He serves his patients and his Clara Maass community with an unswerving commitment to excellence. It is no surprise that he has earned the respect and admiration of his patients as well as his dedicated staff.”

Recently, she commented about the hospital, “With Clara Maass, you could never say that you didn’t know what to expect. They do their best to minimize a patient’s anxiety through information and education. The whole atmosphere at Clara Maass is like that of a family.”

Carol Welsch

A Letter From Carol

I was 60-years-old when I decided to take up skiing.

Thanks to the outstanding orthopedic care I received at Clara Maass Medical Center, not even a knee replacement will keep me from enjoying another winter of ski trips with my grandchildren.

That is something I will never forget. I am so grateful.

When faced with surgery, I looked no further than Clara Maass. I immediately called Dr. Frank Femino, Medical Director of the Joint & Spine Institute there. He performed my husband Don’s successful hip replacement and I had complete confidence in him and the rest of the Clara Maass team.

Just 24 hours after surgery, I was walking with minimal assistance.

My positive experience began before I even had surgery. I took advantage of a surgery preparation seminar offered at the hospital and I was so glad I did! Knowing what to expect reduced my anxiety and truly helped me through the healing process. Group physical therapy after surgery inspired and motivated me. The compassionate nursing care was second to none. The entire staff was amazing and each of them encouraged me to succeed.

Generous donations make outcomes like mine possible for all Clara Maass patients.

Carol Welsch West Orange, NJ