Barbara's Hip Replacement Surgery Success Story

As a sufferer of severe arthritis in her right knee, Barbara Wisniewski was no stranger to joint pain. She finally found relief with a series of gel injections. Thinking her joint problems were resolved, she was surprised when no sooner had her knee healed, than she began experiencing a sharp pain in her right hip.

“My hip hurt terribly and it was so difficult to walk,” the Marblehead resident recalled. Barbara made an appointment with orthopedic physician, Kam Wong, PhD, MD who ordered X-rays. “He told me that my left knee and hip were fine, but my right hip was so worn down it didn’t look like a joint anymore. He recommended that I have a hip replacement.”

What is hip replacement surgery called?

Also called total hip arthroplasty, hip replacement surgery involves removing a worn out or damaged hip joint with an artificial hip joint. The hip replacement surgery procedure is an invasive option, and hip replacement surgery recovery time can vary from six weeks to three months, depending on the patient's age, overall health, and the type of hip replacement surgery chosen. Most people, however, are able to resume normal activities within three to six weeks after surgery.

Although the thought of surgery can cause worry and anxiety, Barbara was calm and relaxed, even though this would be her first surgery experience.

“Dr. Wong was so good about explaining everything to my family and me that I didn’t feel any need to worry,” Barbara said.

hip replacement success stories and Barbara's hip replacement recovery time

Dr. Wong determined that Barbara was a good candidate for a newer hip replacement surgery called an anterior supine hip procedure, which combines the benefits of a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) with the advantages of an anterior approach (the front of the hip). Traditional hip surgery involves an 8- to 12-inch incision on the side or back of the leg. The MIS Anterior Supine Procedure uses a 3- to 6-inch incision on the front of the leg. This allows the surgeon to have an optimized view of the hip joint during surgery.

The smaller incision allows the surgeon to work between the leg muscles without having to cut the muscles around the hip. It also lets the surgeon preserve the tissue that keeps the joint tight, which reduces the risk of dislocation (when the hip comes out of the socket) after surgery. Dr. Wong and his colleague, James Berry, MD who assisted in the surgery, have performed about a dozen of these procedures.

There are several benefits of anterior supine hip procedure:

  • Accelerated recovery time and reduced pain, due to the minimal trauma to muscles, tendons and nerves;
  • Reduced scarring due to the use of a smaller incision than with traditional total hip replacement;
  • More rapid stability of the hip and less limping because the muscles are not disrupted during the procedure;
  • Because the Anterior Supine Hip Procedure is a muscle-sparing procedure, patients may experience reduced rehabilitation time following surgery, as compared to the six to eight weeks of rehab that is typical with traditional hip replacement procedures.

The hip replacement procedure, which was performed in early January of 2013, was a success. In terms of hip replacement surgery recovery time, Barbara was walking with the aid of a walker the day after surgery and received physical therapy and occupational therapy for the next month. Of course, hip replacement recovery time can vary from person to person. She credits her husband Bob, their daughter Robbi, sons Geoff and Bryan and their spouses as well as her friends for her recovery. She is now a proud hip replacement success story, enjoying all of her former activities, free of pain.

“Bob and I are very active in our church. I especially enjoy singing in the choir, which I was unable to do for awhile. One of my main goals was to be able to climb into the choir loft and sing in the choir again. I also missed my Bible study group. It’s wonderful to get back to everything. It makes you think about how much life is worth when you can’t do things and are dependent on others. I’m very thankful to have my life back.”

Read more hip replacement patient success stories and learn about the top-rated orthopedic services at Firelands Regional Medical Center today.