Robert's Story: Knee Replacement

Back to Raquetball... After Revision Knee Arthroplasty (Replacement)

Robert Cugno’s knee problems began about 35 years ago in an all too common way: torn ligaments from playing basketball. He had surgery to repair his ravaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his right knee at a Boston hospital.

After several decades, the injury lead to osteoarthritis and a bowed leg, which caused pain and discomfort for years. So in 2001, Cugno, now 61 and a partner with New York Life, had a successful right knee replacement at the same Boston hospital and it served him well for a dozen years. Then in early 2013, he was getting into his car when his foot slipped and his knee hit the door hard. After that, his discomfort got progressively worse. “I had to use a cane and it was difficult to get around,” says Cugno. “It was a constant throb and depending on how I moved my leg, a very sharp pain as well. ” The only way he was able to sleep was with pillows between his legs for support.

X-rays revealed that his implant had become worn and loose, and he had significant bone loss in his shinbone. “Dr. [William] Healy was sensational from the very beginning,” says Cugno. “He examined my knee, reviewed the imaging and said, ‘The problem is clear and I can fix it if you wish.’ He told me exactly what he was going to do and how he was going to do it.” The revision knee arthroplasty went superbly— treating the bone loss, balancing the ligaments, re-aligning Cugno’s leg and restoring normal motion.

The Kaplan Joint Center staff was efficient, professional and supportive, according to Cugno. “They got me to the right places — like X-ray— with no delay. There was no running from place to place.”

Cugno’s rehabilitation went smoothly and within a week he was back at work for six or seven hours a day, using crutches. A week after that he was walking with a cane and two weeks later, he was walking unassisted. Six months post surgery, Cugno is working out every day to build up the strength in his leg and he expects to be back to bi-weekly racquetball games in a couple of months.

Unfortunately, an evaluation of his left knee has revealed significant arthritic changes that will require a total knee replacement, which Cugno plans to do next year. “I’ll unquestionably do it with Dr. Healy,” he says.

To make an appointment or find out more about the Kaplan Joint Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, please call us at 855-KNEE-HIP (855-563-3447) or email us