HOPE AFTER HIP REPLACEMENT

During her lengthy career as a preschool teacher and early childhood educator, Terry Fierle, 67, was surrounded by toddlers. She never tired of watching them expand their worlds as they learned how to walk—charmed by their shuffling wide-legged steps and determined, but unsteady, progress across a room.
 

As she approached her mid-sixties, however, Terry found herself struggling to walk even a short distance. Osteoarthritis, a common condition among people over age 50, had broken down the cartilage in her left hip, and she found herself limping to mediate the pain of bone grinding against bone.


After regular visits with her primary care doctor, Mitchell Watanabe, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., with MemorialCare Medical Group, she consulted with Anatol Podolsky, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, who ordered a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of her hip, and upon seeing the results, recommended a total hip replacement.


Uncertain about the idea of surgery and unwilling to spend time away from her beloved kids at school, Terry spent the next four years medicating with anti-inflammatories and a daily dose of water aerobics. By the time she retired in June 2016, Terry was exhausted by the constant pain and was ready for surgery. Dr. Podolsky performed her hip replacement surgery that fall.


“Aside from my hip, I was in really good health. Even during short, and what should have been comfortable walks, I limped in pain,” says Terry.


MECHANICAL MARVEL
The hip is a weight-bearing, ball-and-socket joint that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the pelvis. To allow the leg to swing, bend and rotate freely, the spherical head of the femur fits neatly into the cup-shaped socket of the pelvis and the adjoining surfaces of the bones are coated with cartilage, a smooth, slippery padding that allows them to glide without friction. The joint is stabilized by a tough, fibrous capsule made of ligaments and maneuvered by four main groups of muscles. 


Despite the joint’s complexity, advanced surgical techniques, along with the prosthetic’s long-lasting materials and precise engineering, have made hip joint replacements a relatively common procedure – with 96 percent patient satisfaction.


“Pre-planning is critical to every successful outcome,” says Timothy Gibson, M.D., medical director of the Joint Replacement Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. “Patients have different degrees of flexibility in their hips and minor variations in pelvic structure that may ultimately affect the outcome. I take X-rays, measure carefully and determine the ideal joint position before my patient is on the table.”


The length of a patient’s recovery depends on age and pre-existing conditions, as well as the approach that the surgeon takes. In Terry’s case, a posterior (back) approach was taken, with repair of the posterior capsule to reduce the risk of future dislocation. Patients typically recover more quickly and, in many cases, are walking without any means of support within 10 days.

RAPID REHAB
Terry Fierle, like most patients, took her first steps just a few hours after surgery. 
 

“They got me up that afternoon with a walker and they taught me how to get in and out of bed,” Terry says. “Once I fully recovered, I had a burst of energy. I’m now pain-free and as active as I was 10 or 15 years ago.”


Since Terry is retired, she channels her newfound energy toward teaching watercolor painting classes to seniors and volunteering at Orange Coast Medical Center. 


“I take pride in volunteering for a place that has given me, and so many other people, relief from hip problems,” says Terry. 


The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Orange Coast Medical Center offers the latest and most comprehensive approaches to joint replacement. Led by our expert team of surgeons and skilled nurses, Orange Coast Medical Center continues to invest in the latest hip and knee replacement technology such as the Mako® Robotic-Arm Assisted Joint Replacement Surgical System, which uses 3D modeling of the hip or knee, enabling surgeons to pre-plan joint replacement surgeries. Mako® Technology was designed to help surgeons provide patients with a personalized surgical experience based on their specific diagnosis and anatomy.

To learn more about advances in joint replacement, including Mako®, please click here

Join Us! Mako® Open House

Tuesday, June 26 , 3 - 5 pm
Orange Coast Health & Wellness Pavilion,
Conference Center

Learn more about Mako® Robotic-Arm Assisted Joint Replacement Surgery, see the robot in person and speak with orthopedic surgeons who use the new technology. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.

To register, please call 1.800.MEMORIAL.

Join Us! Mako® Open House

Tuesday, June 26 , 3 - 5 pm
Orange Coast Health & Wellness Pavilion,
Conference Center

Learn more about Mako® Robotic-Arm Assisted Joint Replacement Surgery, see the robot in person and speak with orthopedic surgeons who use the new technology. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.

To register, please call 1.800.MEMORIAL.

 

Terry Fierle, volunteer at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. 

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MemorialCare is a nonprofit integrated healthcare delivery system that includes leading hospitals – Long Beach Medical Center, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Medical Center and Saddleback Medical Center; award-winning medical groups – MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians; MemorialCare Health Plan; and convenient outpatient health centers, imaging centers, surgical centers and dialysis centers throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

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