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Medical Monday 8.11.14: Arthroplasty Surgery Helping Patients With Hand Arthritis

| August 11, 2014


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Each year, orthopedic surgeons perform thousands of joint replacement surgeries in the U.S. The more common of these procedures are hip and knee replacements. But for some patients with hand arthritis, joint replacement surgery may be necessary. Shawn Cunningham takes a look at how the procedure is being done at one county hospital in this week’s Medical Monday.

Up until just a few months ago, Linda Berry would have someone else try to remove the plastic seal from this container of peaches. The arthritis in both her hands made that next to impossible because of the pain.

“The pain started out as a small like throb just throb then it got to be more intense where I couldn’t move my thumb,” says Berry.

In fact Linda experienced that kind of pain not just in her hands but on most of her body.

Linda adds “This hand, the back of my neck my legs I’ve got it all over.”


That’s when Linda decided to see her doctor who led her to the orthopedic department at Cary Medical Center.


There she found out she was the perfect candidate to have joint replacement surgery on her hands, a procedure called arthroplasty. Dr. Mark Perlmutter, an Orthopedic Surgeon at Cary Medical Center responds

“In the hand, we tend not to do what we do in the hips and knees which are metal and plastic joint replacements we tend to do natural reconstruction with tendon and ligament reconstruction of the joint to prevent the implanting of foreign materials.”


Dr. Perlmutter has performed the procedure to more than thirty patients at Cary. He says it’s a big benefit to be able to offer it right in Aroostook County because all joint replacement surgeries are followed up by rehabilitation.

Linda’s been in hand rehab for the past six weeks. Dr. Perlmutter says its important patients talk to their doctors to see if the procedure might be the right course of treatment option.

“Be direct and ask them I have pain in my hand, I’m developing weakness, can you help me develop a program where I can better if you’re family isn’t told that you have a problem by you chances are its not gonna be raised by them,” adds Dr. Perlmutter.

But things are much better for Linda. She can use a can opener, type, sign her name all with minimal pain. She credits CARY with changing her life…

Linda says “To find this here is AMAZING, GOD forbid if he moved, I’d move with him.”

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