Lonnie Smith, 71, is a man of action. For 22 years, he’d worked as a paramedic and fireman. He enjoyed outdoor activities and liked to build and repair homes, work that often found him climbing on roofs and doing heavy lifting. But in his early sixties, he began experiencing some pain in his hip – pain that grew progressively worse over the next ten years. “I started feeling unstable, afraid my hip would give out on me unexpectedly,” he says. “The pain was on and off, but when I had a hard time walking up and downstairs and started waking up at night in pain, I knew it was time to do something.” Lonnie met Dr. Peter Thadani, IBJI/Libertyville, when his younger brother had a total hip replacement in 2013.
“My brother’s hip was much worse than mine, but he had such a good experience with Dr. Thadani. I decided to go see him. From the moment I met him, he was so professional, thorough and personal.” At Lonnie’s first appointment in January 2014, X-rays revealed he had severe end stage osteoarthritis.
Says Dr. Thadani, “It was clear that Lonnie needed total replacement of his right hip. He was a great candidate for anterior hip replacement. With the anterior approach, we don’t cut any muscles and that makes recovery – the first three months after surgery – much easier.”
Lonnie did physical therapy in preparation for the March procedure. Dr. Thadani performed his anterior total hip replacement at Lake Forest Hospital. Lonnie was in the hospital for two days. “It’s hard to believe, but on day one, the severe pain and discomfort I’d felt before surgery was gone,” says Lonnie. “I was out of bed and in physical therapy right away with only minimal discomfort.
By day two, Lonnie was walking to physical therapy with a walker. Discharged two days after surgery with no limitations, he began physical therapy three days a week at IBJI Grayslake and was walking with just a cane in less than a week. “I had to get over being cautious,” says Lonnie. “Many people I knew who had conventional hip replacement had restrictions, like ‘don’t cross your legs, don’t lift your knee above the hip, don’t bend over to pick something up.’ I didn’t have those and had to get used to that!”
In about a month, Lonnie finished formal therapy and continued with exercises at home. At his five week post-op visit, Lonnie was cleared to resume low impact activities. By June, he was whitewater rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains. “I rafted, canoed and hiked a mountain with no trouble at all,” he says. “It was incredible. I appreciate the exceptional care I got from Dr. Thadani and the IBJI team. Looking back, I waited too long in pain. To anyone who’s feeling pain like I did, I say, ‘don’t wait’.”