On February 23rd 1999, America's Health Network organized a live webcast of a total knee replacement surgery on both knees of a 61-year-old woman whose love of ballroom dancing since years has been devastated by arthritis. On this occasion, the recently launched Internet consumer health site AHN decided to partner with the US national home office of the Arthritis Foundation, in order to provide useful information to the public on hip and knee surgery treatment for arthritis sufferers.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Cohen of the Georgia Joint Replacement Center at Wellstar Cobb Hospital outside of Atlanta. The hospital is part WellStar Health System, a community-owned and operated network. Dr. Cohen and the Georgia Joint Replacement Center are affiliated with the OrthoLink Physicians Corporation, a musculo-skeletal practice. The live webcast was set up to familiarize health care consumers with this type of specialized surgery.
Mary Sue Hogue of Smyrna, the patient concerned, underwent a total knee replacement surgery on both her knees. Arthritis caused the cartilage in the knee joints to gradually disappear. This eventually resulted in the thigh and shin bones rubbing together, precisely at the joint. Since both walking and climbing had been painful to Mrs. Hogue, she decided to find out more about the procedure. The knee surgery consisted in remodelling the three primary contact surfaces within the joint with a titanium metal cap as well as plastic gliding surfaces.
Each year, over half a million knee and hip replacements are performed in this way. Patients usually are back on their feet the day after this type of surgery and can expect six months to one year of rehabilitation and exercise. All too often people in need of knee or hip replacements live with pain since they don't fully understand the procedure, according to J. Tod Fetherling, president of AHN health Web site. In conjunction with the live surgery, AHN therefore supplied knee-joint replacement surgery and arthritis information from the Foundation on the Web site.
The Arthritis Foundation, headquartered in Atlanta, is the only US national, voluntary health association seeking the causes, cures, ways of prevention and treatment for the more than one hundred forms of arthritis. As such, the Foundation has more than 150 chapters and service points throughout the nation to provide community-based programmes and raise funds. The event was equally hosted by Dr. Winnie King, a board-certified emergency physician.
Visitors to the site were invited to access video questions and answers on arthritis, answered by Dr. King. Following the live webcast, the surgery was added to AHN's growing library of video medical procedures accessible for free by health care consumers. At present, the available streaming videos include the first Internet birth, open heart surgery, hair transplant, LASIK eye surgery, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, discectomy, as well as brain surgery.