LINCOLNTON – Ronnie Cornwell is practically a new man. Or at least several of his joints are.
In the past year, the 65-year-old Lincolnton resident has had his hip and two knees replaced at the Carolinas HealthCare System’s CMC Orthopedic Surgery-Lincoln.
Before the procedures, he was in so much pain, walking was a chore. He had to give up house painting, an activity he’s done since he was 16. He also had to retire from his position as a deputy sheriff because he couldn’t move well enough to pass his gun qualification test.
Cornwell had his hip replaced in November 2012, his left knee replaced in February and his right knee replaced in September.
“I struggled to walk,” he said of what it was like before his surgeries. “I couldn’t get up and down the stairs. Now, I have no pain in either knee … I do anything I want to.”
It used to be that area residents in need of joint replacement, had to travel to get it done, Orthopedic Surgeon Ted Parcel said.
Parcel has practiced at CMC-Orthopedic Surgery's Lincolnton and Denver locations for three years. With his expertise and the establishment of a hip and knee program, joint replacement services are offered in Lincoln County. And the program received accreditation from The Joint Commission in January 2013.
“It continues to grow,” Parcel said of the program. “The numbers keep going up.”
Part of the program includes a preoperative joint class, which is about an hour long, where nurses walk patients through the process that happens before and after surgery.
“Since we’ve started this program, I’ve noticed we’ve had a decreased length of stay and satisfaction’s gone up,” Parcel said. “It just makes everybody’s experience better.”
Cornwell said there’s no comparison to the quality service he received for his three surgeries. The medical staff was friendly and professional, he added.
“Besides the good Lord, I give this young man right here the next credit,” Cornwell said pointing to Parcel. “He’s not a heart surgeon, but I’d let him operate on my heart.”
“You don’t want me doing that,” Parcel quickly chimed in as the two laughed.
Though it won’t be on his heart, Parcel will operate again on Cornwell on Dec. 2. This time it’ll be to replace the joint in his shoulder.
Though Cornwell is familiar with joint replacement procedures, CMC-Lincoln is hosting a free seminar on Nov. 19 to offer more information to the public and straighten out misconceptions about joint replacements.
“People think you’re taking off a huge chunk of bone and putting in a hinge, which is not what you do,” Parcel said. “You’re taking off small slivers of bone that are all about a centimeter or less and basically recapping the end of the bone (with metal and plastic).”
For more information about the Lincolnton and Denver CMC-Orthopaedic locations, visit www.carolinashealthcare.org/cmc-orthopaedic-surgery-lincoln.