Two birds, one stone: Runner’s robotic double knee replacement

“I am walking like a young man again”

Tuesday, August 29 2023

A former marathon runner is back to enjoying life, including walks on the beach and exercising with his beloved dog Benji, after having both his knees replaced in a single operation with robotic assisted surgery at Netcare Linksfield Hospital recently.

“I had zero cartilage in my left knee, the bone was grating against bone, and it was very uncomfortable. For many, many years I was an excessive runner, and after all the wear and tear, I was starting to feel the effects of the deterioration in both knees,” says Mr Colin Joiner.

“When Mr Joiner came to see me for the first time, he had severe grade four osteoarthritis involving both knees, and the pain was seriously affecting his quality of life and daily activities,” says Dr Chris McCready, an orthopaedic surgeon practising at Netcare Linksfield Hospital who pioneered Mako robotic assisted total knee replacement surgery in South Africa.

Mr Joiner previously considered having his more painful left knee replaced first with traditional surgery and having his second knee replacement done at a later stage. A friend from the USA encouraged him to explore the option of robotic assisted surgery, which led him to consulting Dr McCready.



“I had expected to be out of action for at least six weeks after the procedure and to go through the recovery period twice, having the knee replaced on each leg separately. Having discussed the options with Dr McCready, we decided to kill two birds with one stone, and I was booked for robotic assisted bilateral knee replacement,” Mr Joiner says.

Dr McCready is one of the most experienced Makro robotic assisted orthopaedic surgeons in the country and has performed more than 700 hip and knee replacements using the advanced surgical system. “For people such as Mr Joiner, who was in excellent health other than his arthritis, a double knee replacement can be considered and robotic assisted surgery is making this option even more feasible,” Dr McCready says.

“Robotic technology is affording surgeons greater control in executing each surgical plan personalised to the unique physiology of the individual, resulting in better balance and more natural feeling knees. Patients report less post-operative pain and quicker recovery times. The robotic assisted approach is also associated with less blood loss for bilateral knee replacements, as well as reducing hospital stays.”

Expectation vs reality
“I went in for the operation with some fear and trepidation; if only I’d known then how smoothly everything would go. Just four hours after coming out of theatre I was already walking, with crutches only for balance. I could not believe it,” the fit 75-year-old uniform clothing manufacturer from Sandton says.

He returned home the following day, and although he had expected to sleep in a downstairs bedroom, he was able to climb a flight of steps to sleep in his own bed on the first night home. “Just two weeks later my life was virtually back to normal. I was able to put the crutches away and no longer needed painkillers. I returned to work and within a month of my operation, I was driving again,” Mr Joiner says.


“Some of the activities I enjoy the most had become so difficult before my knee replacements. Walking on beach sand became impossible, and it was extremely difficult and uncomfortable walking in the long grass at the park with my very exuberant golden retriever, Benji.

“After my surgery and two-week check up with Dr McCready, I was soon back at the park with Benji and just over a month after my operation, I was back on the beach. I am so glad both knees could be fixed at once, so there was no need to go through recovery twice – even though it was much more manageable than I had expected. My postoperative pain was only one on a scale of 10, which was far better than I anticipated.”

Bowled over by Benji
“Twice during my early recovery, when I was still getting my balance, an excitable Benji knocked me off my feet. Although I went down hard, fortunately there was no damage to my new knees. Dr McCready pointed out that my newly replaced knees are even stronger than natural bone.”

Such has been the rapid improvement in Mr Joiner’s quality of life that his wife also consulted Dr McCready and has since set a date for her robotic assisted knee replacement surgery.

“I was blown away by Dr McCready and the warmth and professionalism of his practice, and I am grateful for the good care I received from the nurses at Netcare Linksfield Hospital. This operation has made such a great difference in my life; I am walking like a young man again. Jokingly, I asked Dr McCready if he could replace other parts as I’m getting older to keep up with Benji,” Mr Joiner concludes.


Notes to editor
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