Flying High after Knee Replacement Surgery

Three years ago, David Upton, business owner and helicopter pilot, was told he needed to wait before undergoing knee replacement surgery.

The 59-year-old suffered a left knee injury, which led multiple orthopedic surgeons to suggest a similar care plan. It was determined a left knee replacement was necessary. Still, he was encouraged to wait until he was older and limit physical activity in the meantime. For Upton, this was not an option.

Since childhood, the Alabama native has enjoyed a variety of adventurous sports. Tennis, dirt biking, snowboarding, waterskiing, hunting, running, the list of his favorite pastimes goes on and on.

After consulting with friends, he discovered Dr. Richard Berger, a minimally invasive outpatient joint replacement surgery pioneer. Dr. Berger’s minimally invasive approach to joint replacement surgery allows patients to be discharged from the hospital on the same day of surgery, recover faster, and experience less pain versus a traditional joint replacement procedure. Due to the quick mobility patients experience post-operatively, they recover more effectively, resulting in almost no physical limitations. This approach intrigued Upton and encouraged him to travel beyond state lines for another opinion.

“When I arrived at Dr. Berger’s office, I could tell everyone [on his team] was sharp,” said Upton. “You could tell everyone was happy, highly motivated, and took pride in what they did.”

After an initial appointment with Dr. Berger, it was determined knee replacement surgery was essential for Upton to return to the activities he loved. And the recommendation to schedule the procedure sooner than later—it was the answer Upton had been searching for—provided a solution to his pain.

Upton spent a month – following the quick trip to Chicago for the procedure – recovering in Mountain Brook, AL. “After surgery, my physical therapist was blown away!” said Upton. “Particularly with how little swelling there was, and [the fact that] I rode my electric bike three days after surgery to the therapy facility.”

Upton recalls following Dr. Berger’s protocols as instructed, with a few modifications given how well he felt. “I was pretty confident after meeting [the team] that I would be able to accomplish what I wanted to after surgery. But I didn’t expect to have [any] pain after surgery. I only needed pain pills for the first week of recovery; then, I was able to fly my helicopter.”

Just one year following surgery, Upton is back to playing tennis, dirt biking, barefoot waterskiing, and looks forward to snowboarding this winter.