Mike Wanagat's Joint Replacement Surgery at Firelands Regional Medical Center

Mike Wanagat was an avid hockey player while growing up in the Detroit area in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Typical of many athletes, as he grew older he began experiencing joint problems. He sought help from Dr. Michael Felter, an orthopedic surgeon with Firelands Physician Group Sandusky Orthopedics.

“I had a partial knee replacement in 2003 and my hip started bothering me a few years after that surgery,” Mike said. At first Dr. Felter prescribed celebrex (an anti-inflammatory drug) and cortisone injections. Because of my age – I’m 57 – I wanted to wait as long as I could before having surgery, but it got to the point where the pain was so intense I had to crawl up the stairs to get to the second floor of our house. It was getting ridiculous.”

Since his retirement as an electrician from the Ford plant in Margaretta, Mike has found a second career doing light electrical work and small remodeling jobs. “My hip was so painful that it was really hard for me to work. I knew I couldn’t put the surgery off any longer.”

Mike scheduled an appointment with Dr. Felter and the two of them discussed Mike’s options.

“We basically let the patient decide when he or she is ready to have the joint replacement surgery, but when conservative treatment is no longer effective, and the pain becomes so intolerable that it interferes with the patient’s quality of life, we usually recommend joint replacement,” explained Dr. Felter.

The joint replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, involves removing a diseased hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis or implant. The new joint consists of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic, or metal, and a stem, which fits into the thigh bone. The new joint can produce smooth, nearly frictionless movement. The implants used in hip replacement are biocompatible, which means they are designed to be accepted by the body, and they are made to resist corrosion, degradation, and wear.

Dr. Felter performed Mike’s surgery at Firelands Regional Medical Center in October 2010. “Dr. Felter told my wife, Mary after the surgery that my hip was so arthritic that he didn’t know how I could walk. I guess you just learn to adapt to the pain.”

After a three-day hospital stay, Mike was discharged home where he continued his recovery from joint replacement surgery.

“While I was in the hospital a physical therapist showed me exercises to strengthen my hip and how to use a walker. I used the walker for about five weeks and a cane for a few weeks after that.”

Today, Mike is pain free and has total mobility in his hip. “I told some friends the other day that I’m 110% better. Since my joint replacement surgery I’ve rewired a couple of kitchens and have been getting around with no problems at all. I feel great; I wished I would have had the surgery sooner.”

Learn about the orthopedic services provided by Firelands Physician Group Sandusky Orthopedics today.