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  • Learn How Joint Replacement Can Provide Pain Relief and Freedom

Published on September 16, 2015

Learn How Joint Replacement Can Provide Pain Relief and FreedomGary Simpson - Cottage Center for Orthopedics

Gary Simpson's earlier years of work, climbing stairs in the sugar factory and crawling into freight trucks to make deliveries, seemed to catch up with him in his 60s. And while he enjoyed walking in Santa Maria for exercise, he finally had to stop because of the pain in his knees, especially the left one.

"It just got to where I was limping, and it just hurt all the time," says Simpson.

He met with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Graham Hurvitz, who explained that the cartilage that once cushioned the bones in Simpson's knee had worn away. "He said it was bone on bone," Simpson recalls. "I had to make a decision whether I wanted to live with it or fix it, and I decided to fix it."

Now, a year after total knee replacement surgery at the Cottage Center for Orthopedics at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, Simpson is back walking at Waller Park. He is also talking with Dr. Hurvitz about replacing the right knee, too.

Simpson knows it's not a simple fix, but he trusts Dr. Hurvitz and knows from experience to expect "fantastic" care from the staff, including physical therapy twice a day while at the hospital. In fact, Cottage Health's knee and hip replacement programs have received the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission, the nation's top independent health care accreditor.

Dr. Hurvitz performs as many as 150-200 total joint replacement surgeries a year. While that includes shoulder and hip replacements, the majority of his surgeries are to replace knees that have degenerated over time, often as a result of injuries, arthritis or both. As his patients recover, he hears about big changes in the quality of their lives.

"The first thing people will tell you on the positive side is they can actually stand on their knees and not have pain. They can go for a walk without thinking about their knees. They can sleep at night because there's no longer this achy, steely pain throbbing in their knees that keeps them awake."

They eventually find freedom in many other ways as well, and can start pursuing a more active, healthier lifestyle. "There are patients who can go back to surfing or hiking or cycling long distances," says Dr. Hurvitz.