Genoveffa Colandrea didn't have to look far when her right knee pain became unbearable. She works at an Italian restaurant and Pizzeria across the parking lot from Rothman Institute's Manahawkin office. It was in May of last year when she made an appointment and saw Dr. Fabio Orozco. After xrays and an examination, Dr. Orozco told Colandrea that she was a candidate for a total knee replacement, however, she couldn't get one because her body mass index was too high to ensure a safe operation. At the moment she was just too heavy to go under the knife.
"Genoveffa was a wonderful lady and I was anxious to help her, but her body just wasn't physically ready for the surgery. Studies show that losing weight prior to surgery, to an acceptable body mass index significantly decreases surgical complications. We have to do what is best for the patient, even if that is holding off on surgery. So I asked her if she would consider seeing Rothman Institute's in-house Registered Dietician, Ciara Beck, to help her lose the weight needed for her to undergo the surgery. She agreed.
Ciara Beck, RD, is one of two of Rothman Institute's dietitians. She sees a variety of different patients at both our Manahawkin Marlton and Egg Harbor Township offices and specializes in weight management and disease prevention. Beck not only strives for weight loss, but stresses the importance of eating a quality, nutritious diet. Her focus is to support our surgical candidates in preparing for surgery by getting them in optimal physical condition.
"I am really our patient's biggest cheerleader," said Beck. "Genoveffa was such a sweet lady. On our initial visit we laid out a plan and put it into action."
Over the next five months, under Beck's watchful eye, Colandrea lost 30 pounds!
"I work at a pizzeria, but haven't had pizza in months," said Colandrea. "I also stopped my late night runs to WaWa which was very difficult. Once I started prepping my own food and with the support of my family and friends at work, I became very dedicated to losing the weight."
At her appointments Beck and Colandrea would review food labels, discuss nutritional choices, and work on surmounting the barriers of her new diet.
"She couldn't exercise because of her knee so it was really challenging for her to lose the weight solely through diet," said Beck. When she hit her goal I was so proud of her. I am looking forward to her being able to exercise and continuing her journey to a happier, healthier self."
Once she hit her goal weight she came back to Dr. Orozco to schedule her surgery.
On January 17, 2017, Colandrea was sitting in pre-op. All her hard work and dedication was about to pay off, but she wasn't proud or excited, she was scared.
Once Dr. Orozco arrived, he gave her a brief pep talk, signed the knee he was going to operate on with a purple surgical marker, answered her families' questions and headed to the OR to wait for Colandrea to be wheeled down.
After a safety timeout, Dr. Orozco made his first incision at 11:23 am.
27 minutes later, Colandrea's new knee implant was in place and it was time for her to get stitched up and back to recovery.
Colandrea left AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center - Mainland Campus the next day to begin her recovery.For more on her story stay tuned!