Bodybuilding Couple Treated at Parkwest Joint Replacement Center

Donna Foster and Wade Wilburn smiling.
Physical health is a top priority for husband and wife Wade Wilburn and Donna Foster, who co-own a personal training facility in West Knoxville. Parkwest was their hospital of choice for joint replacements.

Wade Wilburn, 52, and Donna Foster, 59, are a husband-and-wife fitness dynamic duo. Both have been involved in bodybuilding competitions for many years. Together they own a personal training facility that Wilburn runs full time, while Foster works at a dental office in Oak Ridge. She is a personal trainer at the gym in the evenings.

Both Wilburn and Foster have competed and earned first-place finishes in their age categories with the National Physique Committee, a national bodybuilding organization. Their dedication to exercise and healthy diet makes them feel great, but the couple says the rigors of daily workouts are hard on joints, especially hips and knees. When it hurt to walk and his sleep was impeded, Wilburn knew all the squatting and leg pressing he had done since age 15 had caught up with him.

Wilburn’s hips became painful several years ago. “It was getting to the point where I could hardly walk,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep all night long. Both sides of my groin hurt all the time.” And Foster’s left knee still hurt after a surgery several years ago did not alleviate his pain.

In 2018, both bodybuilders sought the help of orthopedic surgeon Conrad
Ivie, MD, at Parkwest Medical Center. In both cases, Dr. Ivie determined they needed joint replacement surgery.

Wilburn had a double hip replacement in January last year, and went home the next day. Just a few months later in July, Foster had a partial left knee replacement and went home the same day. In both cases, Dr. Ivie used the latest in surgical technologies to assist with their procedures.

For Wilburn, Dr. Ivie used computer-assisted orthopedic surgery (CAOS), a technology that uses a special camera and a computer to provide real-time images and data during surgery to assist the surgeon in placing the new joint.

For Foster, Dr. Ivie used the robotic-arm surgical assistant, in which the instruments are held by a robotic arm guided by the surgeon more precisely than possible by hand.

Headshot of Dr. Ivie in suit.
Conrad Ivie, MD

“I use either robotic or computer-assisted technology for all my surgeries,”
said Dr. Ivie. “Technologies like these take us to the next level, to make sure we place the joint for each patient individually to best fit them. We are doing more accurate replacements than we have ever done before, which means faster recovery and more balanced and accurate joints. People come back and tell me they don’t even think about their joints as replacements. They feel like it’s really theirs.”

For Wilburn’s surgery, Dr. Ivie performed a minimally invasive cut through the front, or anterior side, of the hips. “By going in the front, I don’t cut into the muscle at all,” said Dr. Ivie. “Obviously that’s a big benefit for a bodybuilder, but also it means that recovery time is faster. Wade did exceptionally well.” Wilburn’s double hip replacement is not typical, Dr. Ivie added. “A patient has to be very healthy on the front end to qualify to do both sides at once. But it is a good option for some patients who need just one recovery time.”

For Foster, Dr. Ivie performed a partial knee replacement, replacing only the portion of the knee that was injured. The work must be done with precision, which is why Dr. Ivie used the robotic arm.

Foster and Wilburn said they would recommend Parkwest and Dr. Ivie to anyone facing joint replacement surgery. “Parkwest was wonderful,” Foster said. “They were on top of everything. I get really nervous when it comes to medical procedures. But I was just amazed at how smoothly it went from the morning to the time I went home.”

Both fitness trainers went faithfully to intensive physical therapy for five weeks after surgery, which helped them recover quickly. “I’m back up to doing 900 pounds on the leg press with 20 repetitions,” said Wilburn. “Now, mind you, I used to be a lot stronger than that. But my legs are better than they’ve ever been. It’s
been a miracle.”

Wilburn in bodybuilding competition.
Wilburn took first place in a national bodybuilding
competition just 10 months after his hip replacement.

In fact, Wilburn competed just 10 months after surgery and earned first place in the “masters over 40” category and second place in the “masters over 50” categories of the NPC Nashville Night of Champions event in November. Foster is training with several clients who are competing this year, and is planning to enter
a competition later this year.

The pair said they are both grateful they had their joint replacement surgeries at Parkwest Medical Center. “Everything went so well for both of us,” said Wilburn. “Everybody was so nice. It was a great experience in a painful situation. I give them a 10 out of 10.”

Parkwest: A Leader in Orthopedics and Spine Care

Located in west Knoxville, Parkwest Medical Center is one of our area’s premier medical centers. Offering state-of-theart equipment and facilities, Parkwest is home to the busiest joint replacement program in Knoxville. Thousands of patients trust us each year for orthopedic surgeries, including joint replacements, fracture repairs, arthroscopies, and orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgeries. Our physicians have access to the latest technology including robotics and advanced imaging to help provide outstanding care to the members of our community.

Parkwest’s orthopedic and spine program have been recognized both nationally and regionally for excellent outcomes and outstanding quality. Our recent expansion project added two new patient floors and new surgical suites. At Parkwest we strive to provide a caring atmosphere and deliver an excellent patient experience. Our pledge of excellence begins with our commitment
to always put our patients first.