Local Hospitals on the Cutting-Edge

4-14-05 – The aging population in Grayson County is no stranger to a crippling disease that affects over 16 million Americans. Sufferers of osteoarthritis used to undergo painful joint-replacement surgery to find relief, but local hospitals say new technology is available.

Osteoarthritis is defined as the breakdown of cartilage and bone around the joints. Family history and lifestyle is usually to blame for the onset of the disease.

“I have a mother and I have an aunt who has arthritis, so it's in our family,” said Twyla Weatherbee of Gainesville.

Hip and knee replacement surgery usually required long hospital stays and left large scars. Orthopedic specialists say the aging population in the area now has access to a new surgical technique.

“There’s a newer technique with smaller incision surgery where you don’t really cut into the muscle,” said Dr. David Osterman, “Incisions are smaller. Basically, for the right type of person, it’s a good operation.”

Symptoms of osteoporosis usually show up in patients after the age of 40 and by 60, most adults have some degree of arthritis.