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‘I should have done this a long time ago’

For 10 years, Charlene Smrz suffered through pain during walking, pain that gradually increased until it bowed her legs and hindered her daily activities.

The 69-year-old Villa Park resident had heard about MAKOplasty, a minimally invasive robotic treatment, but could not locate any nearby doctors who performed the procedure. Moreover, Smrz was leery of total knee replacement surgery, since her friends had so much trouble with discomfort and stiffness following their procedures. In the meantime, her pain grew worse.

“If I was going to a grandchild’s ballgame, I would ask how far I’d have to walk,” Smrz said. “Last year, I didn’t even sign up for my golf league.”

When Smrz heard about a seminar offered by Adventist Hinsdale Hospital on robotic knee replacement technology, she couldn’t wait to attend. Although Smrz felt her knees had degenerated past the point where MAKOplasty could help her, X-rays showed otherwise. Dr. Paul M. Trksak, an orthopedic surgeon, performed the treatment on both her knees at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

That was Nov. 12, 2010. By spring, after three weeks of using a walker, four weeks of home therapy and six of outpatient therapy, Smrz had returned to her former life, including golfing.

“I’m able to swing without hurting the knees,” Smrz said. “I should have done this a long time ago.”

Gone was the pain that accompanied climbing stairs, negotiating hills and even walking her dog. An added bonus: Smrz was no longer bowlegged. Her husband Joseph was the first to notice and took pictures to compare Smrz’s “before” and “after” legs.

“My husband keeps saying, ‘Wow! Nice legs,’” Smrz said with a giggle. “It’s like when we first met.”