Back to Her ‘Old Life’

Tourniquetless Knee Replacement Offers Less Pain, Quicker Recovery for Patients Like Betty Smith

Betty Smith of Cookeville has always been active, but after years of increasing deterioration of her right knee joint, she finally reached a point where the pain was keeping her from enjoying life.


“I had severe pain,” said Smith. “I spent more time at home. It was a struggle to shop. I knew that I had to do something about it.”


Her doctor referred her to orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Turnbull, who recommended tourniquetless total knee replacement, a new procedure that eliminates the above-the-knee tourniquet commonly used to help surgeons with visualization during knee replacement surgery.


“The focus on the tourniquetless total knee replacement is to make recovery rapid,” said Dr. Turnbull. “The recovery and the patient’s ability to walk certain distances is sped up by two-fold by not using the tourniquet. The patient can be up walking with the therapist within 30 minutes to an hour after the surgery, and they’re able to get up on their feet and walk, with a helper, out the door the following day.”


“After discussing things with Dr. Turnbull, I knew that this surgery was what I needed to do, that it would take away my pain, and that I would once again be able to do the things I wanted to do,” said Smith.


Smith had surgery on a Monday and came home on Wednesday before lunch.


“I had no bruising in the top portion of my leg, which I think led to less pain,” said Smith.


Smith only used a walker and a cane for three weeks after her surgery. And, just three months later, she was already walking outside and doing water aerobics.


“Every day, I try to put something back into my life that I did before I came up with the pain in my knee,” said Smith. “I am back to the things that I used to do, which is walking, both inside and outside. I go to my water aerobics classes and work hard at that. I think that this new procedure really contributed to this quick recovery.”


“I see Betty doing anything she wants to do,” said Dr. Turnbull. “As far as any restrictions after a total knee replacement, I tell patients that I don’t want them to run; I don’t want them to hang glide or parachute; but they can walk as far as they want. If they want to walk a marathon, they can do it.”


Now, Smith recommends Cookeville Regional to anyone who asks her.


“Staying here and being easier on my family means we did not have to drive very far for surgery or for my therapy,” said Smith. “I feel like I got much better care here than I might have in bigger cities, and I was home. When you’re happier, things go better.”