Walk With Ease

An orthopedic patient travels from Alaska for knee replacement surgery.

By: Sara Dale | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: December 2007

Dr. Ronald S. LaButti

In order to receive the skilled expertise of Dr. Ronald S. LaButti, it mattered little to Mary Ellen Keeter that she must travel from Barrow, Alaska, to Tulsa, Oklahoma. To this determined sixth-grade teacher, it was a minor detail that her hometown in Alaska happened to be the northernmost city in the entire country. Not a problem.

“A few miles here and there did not deter me at all,” says Keeter. “I would follow Dr. LaButti to the ends of the earth if necessary. To say he knows what he is doing is a tremendous understatement.”

Prior to having Dr. LaButti perform knee replacement surgery on her right knee in June 2005, Keeter had endured years of limping. She had a great deal of pain and discomfort. “I just thought it was arthritis that plagued me,” she says. “I didn’t realize it was also bone grinding on bone. And I certainly didn’t know how obvious it was to others.” That all changed when one of her sixth-grade students gave her a very important bit of insight.

“I had assigned the students an essay on ‘an act of kindness,’” Keeter says. “I was stunned when one chose me as the subject. He went into great detail about how much difficulty I had getting around and how important it is for others to show patience and kindness in dealing with people who suffer from physical limitation. That was definitely a reality check!”

As Keeter will concede, living in Barrow, Alaska, is wonderful; however, accessible health care is not one of its assets. “There’s no health care to speak of in Barrow except for taking care of the common cold,” she says. “The good thing is my insurance company provides two trips a year to another state to visit a doctor or tend to whatever health issue that may arise.” Thus began the search for the ideal orthopedic surgeon.

The nationwide pursuit resulted in Ronald S. LaButti, D.O., in Tulsa. “I enlisted the help of my cousin who lives in Oklahoma, and it didn’t take long for us to find Dr. LaButti,” mentions Keeter. “He had nothing but rave reviews from everyone we talked to: nurses, past patients, other doctors.”

Following Keeter’s knee replacement surgery, her former aches and pains quickly became dim memories. “I stayed in Tulsa under Dr. LaButti’s care and for physical therapy,” the patient says. “I was amazed that within four weeks, I didn’t need a walker, a cane or anything. I was getting around much better than I had in years and without pain. I felt like a living, breathing miracle.”

When Keeter returned to Barrow following her surgery, her colleagues and students barely recognized her. “They were amazed at the difference in me,” she says. “And I am in constant disbelief at how the surgery has totally changed my life!”

Dr. LaButti’s original plan was to follow Keeter’s first knee replacement surgery with another on her left knee, but that plan is currently on hold. “When I last visited Dr. LaButti in January 2006, he saw no reason to touch the other knee so long as it wasn’t causing me any pain or problems,” Keeter mentions. “That’s been another amazing thing about all of this. As soon as I underwent knee replacement surgery on my right knee, my left knee no longer hurt. Dr. LaButti believes I’m pain-free now because I no longer throw my body alignment off by favoring one knee over the other.”

On her first trip to Oklahoma to see Dr. LaButti, Keeter had to be lifted into the plane. “I couldn’t walk up the steps; that’s how bad I was,” she says. Things are drastically different today. “According to Dr. LaButti, the only activities I should avoid are skydiving, skiing and other similar activities that may cause serious injury to my knee. That’s good news for a person who once had trouble walking across a room. Even though choosing him was pretty much a ‘no brainer,’ it turned out to be one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.”

For more information about Dr. LaButti and how you can get a new lease on life, call Central States Orthopedic Specialists, Inc. at (918) 481-2767 or visit www.hipandkneedoc.com.

For more information, contact

Dr. Ronald S. LaButti

Central States Orthopedic Specialists, Inc.
(918) 481-2767


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