Thanks to Dr. Byrne, "I can do it all": Nurse Shares Personal Account of Total Knee Replacement Surgery | MedStar Health

Thanks to Dr. Byrne, "I Can Do it All": Nurse Shares Personal Account of Total Knee Replacement Surgery

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Dr John Byrne stands with Anita Persing after a successful knee replacement surgery at MedStar Health.

Anita Persing of White Plains, Maryland, chose John Byrne, MD, and MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for her total knee replacement surgeries. Here’s why.

Anita Persing has always lived an active life, but back in 2007, osteoarthritis began to get in her way. She was finding it difficult to walk long distances and was having trouble executing turns during her weekly swing dancing dates with her husband, Charles. In fact, everyday activities were becoming harder.

As her knee pain worsened, Anita knew exactly the right person to call: orthopaedic surgeon John Byrne, MD, a member of the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute who has practiced at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for over 20 years. Anita was a registered nurse (RN) who had spent years working in the recovery room of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s surgical unit. She had seen his work and knew that Dr. Byrne was a caring physician as well as a skilled orthopedic surgeon.

“The best referrals are referrals from people I work with at the hospital,” Dr. Byrne said. “It’s a great compliment when people with firsthand knowledge come to me.”

Anita also had a strong recommendation from one of Dr. Byrne’s former patients: her husband, Charles, an avid golfer who walks five miles each day on the course. More than 10 years ago, Dr. Byrne replaced both of Charles’ hips. The surgeries were about a month apart, in November and December. “His goal was to walk 18 holes of golf by the following March, and he met that goal,” she said. “It has been over 10 years since the surgeries, and he has had no problems at all.”

Total joint replacement experts

Total joint replacement surgery treats the pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with arthritis by replacing parts of the damaged joint with an artificial one. When conservative management of symptoms is no longer effective, total joint replacement can relieve the patient’s symptoms and return the patient to an active lifestyle.

“We try other options to relieve symptoms, including anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and viscosupplementation injections,” said Dr. Byrne. “We try to avoid surgery when possible, or at least postpone it.”

But when Anita’s knee gave out, causing her to fall and break her wrist, she knew that it was time to move forward with surgery. In July of 2008, Anita had her first total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Byrne at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. She had total joint replacement surgery on her other knee in December, 2014.

Anita had a great experience at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center: “The hospital care was wonderful, and everyone was very professional,” she said. “Even though I’m a nurse, I learned a lot by going through surgery on the patient side.”

A full recovery

Dr. Byrne and Anita agree that following the rehabilitation program as recommended is key to a successful recovery.

“With total joint replacement, our goal is to get the patient back on their feet, with no pain and normal function,” Dr. Byrne said. “But a lot of that is up to the individual.”

Determined to walk without pain as soon as possible, Anita got back to swimming three to four times a week as soon as her stitches had healed and got started on her rehabilitation right away. “I found it especially helpful to go to the rehabilitation centers, because they have a full range of equipment and the physical therapists are wonderful coaches.”

Today, Anita is back to living a full life. “We do a lot of things now: traveling, walking longer distances, and I can do it all.”

For more information about the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute in Clinton, Maryland, visit or call 301-856-1682.