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Patient Stories

Martha Nash

Standing Strong

Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement Gets Florissant Woman Moving Again

For almost 20 years, Martha Nash, 74, lived with constant knee pain. She put off treatment for years, fearful of undergoing major surgery. But when the pain got so severe she found it difficult to walk, to sleep and to enjoy life like she used to, Martha decided it was time to see an orthopedic specialist. After her physician referred her to Mark Belew, MD, BJC Medical Group orthopedic surgeon at Christian Hospital, Martha called and made an appointment.

“When Martha came to me, she was struggling to walk and her knee was unstable,” says Dr. Belew. “Understanding her apprehension, I first tried more conservative approaches than surgery, including bracing and medications. But she was to the point that nothing was really helping.”

It became clear the best course of treatment was a total knee replacement. Dr. Belew walked Martha through the process, answering her questions and ensuring she knew what to expect every step of the way. “Part of what the procedure offers is the chance to not only get rid of arthritis, but also the opportunity to realign the leg and make a joint that is stable again. That’s exactly what Martha needed,” says Dr. Belew.

Throughout her stay and recovery, Martha had a team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists and staff working with her to get her back on her feet. “During my stay, if I needed anything, they were there. And Dr. Belew has a great bedside manner,” says Martha.

In March, Martha underwent total knee replacement surgery. She was walking, without pain, the next day. “We encourage patients to get up and start moving as soon as possible. In most cases, that’s the same day of surgery, or the day following. We work to gain their independence back as soon as possible,” says Dr. Belew.

Throughout her stay and recovery, Martha had a team of physicians, nurses, physical therapists and staff working with her to get her back on her feet. “During my stay, if I needed anything, they were there. And Dr. Belew has a great bedside manner,” says Martha.

Three days after surgery, Martha returned to her home in Florissant. She completed three weeks of in-home physical therapy, followed by a few months of outpatient physical therapy at Northwest HealthCare.

“Surgery is just part of the process. We rely very much on physical therapy to help the patient recuperate, gaining back motion and strength,” says Dr. Belew. “What we want is a great outcome, and if there are things we can do to make it safer, easier and better, then I want to do that for my patients.”

With her new knee, Martha is able to enjoy life again. “I can do things with my great grandkids that I couldn’t do before. I missed their sports games and activities because I wasn’t able to get out of the house. Now I can do so much more,” says Martha. She’s also an usher at her church and can stand, without pain, through the whole service. “After my knee replacement, I am pain-free. And I haven’t been pain-free in 20 years. All I can say is ‘hallelujah.’”

“It’s rewarding to follow the recovery of patients like Martha, as they are able to get back to their lives again. Recovery with minimally invasive surgery is night and day compared to traditional methods. The patient is more comfortable sooner and recovery time is much quicker. Things that used to be done a month or two months following surgery are now done a week or two after,” says Dr. Belew.

Dr. Belew has been performing minimally invasive total knee replacement for almost five years. In addition to total knee replacements, the orthopedic team at Christian Hospital also performs total hip and total shoulder replacements. The team is constantly working to improve and expand the treatment options for patients, implementing new procedures like a reverse total shoulder replacement procedure, which helps patients with rotator cuff tears and arthritis.

“This is the best thing I could have done. I wish I had done this years ago,” says Martha. “For anyone with aches and pains who needs an orthopedic specialist, come to Christian Hospital. Dr. Belew is awesome. I can’t say enough good things about him. I need to see him for a shoulder replacement next, so I’ll be back.”

Hear other patient stories or read the current issue of Christian Cares magazine.


Christian Hospital and Northwest HealthCare, members of BJC HealthCare, provide world-class medical care to the communities of North County, Greater St. Louis County and Southern Illinois.

For more information, call 314.747.WELL.

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 800.392.0936
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St. Louis, Missouri 63136


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