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Home |  Patient Stories |  Hip Degeneration Solved by Joint Replacement: Stella’s Story

Hip Degeneration Solved by Joint Replacement: Stella’s Story

For years, Stella Housakos, 86, and her husband split their time between sunny Florida and a home in north suburban Chicago. Stella loved the mile-long boardwalk strolls they took each day from their Naples condo to the beach. But in 2003, when the heel of Stella’s shoe caught in the walkway, she fractured the femoral neck of her left hip. The bone break was repaired with plates and screws in Florida, but upon returning home a month later, pain in Stella’s left thigh and hip drove her to seek care at IBJI.

Says her daughter, Paula Gilbert, “We knew IBJI was the place to go. I’d been there with my husband and sons several times. My mom met with Dr. Van Stamos and within minutes, they discovered a mutual friend connection – they’re both Greek. We knew he was great doctor, but that sealed it.”

“I could see from her X-rays that she had degeneration on both the left and right hip though the pain was primarily on the left side,” says Dr. Stamos, orthopedic surgeon at IBJI-Glenview. Dr. Stamos recommended physical therapy and injections to relieve pain, a conservative approach that worked for Stella for years.

By May 2013, however, the hip pain had worsened and Stella had pain in both knees. Says Dr. Stamos, “X-rays showed bone on bone wear and osteonecrosis or bone death at the right femoral head. In essence, the hip degeneration was causing Stella’s hip joint to collapse, which was subsequently causing the pain in her knees.”
Stella and her family, consulting with Dr. Stamos, determined that the time was right for joint replacement surgery and in June, Dr. Stamos performed Stella’s right hip replacement at Glenbrook Hospital.

A few weeks later, Stella began outpatient physical therapy and by late July, was doing very well. “Stella, like many people, thought she was too old for surgery, but there’s really no such thing. We look at many factors including overall health and a person’s goals when considering surgery. I help my patients evaluate whether the benefit of surgery will be worth it to them. Though she was hesitant at first, Stella did great and just flew through surgery and recovery,” Dr. Stamos explains.

Says Stella, “Dr. Stamos’ professional and thoughtful diagnosis and treatment were perfect for my age and circumstances. I am very pleased with the care I received.” Says Paula, 60, “My mom is very happy with her new right hip and I’ve become a patient of Dr. Stamos’, too. He replaced both of my hips in 2014, ending years of pain for me. I’m as good as new and back to tennis, golf and maybe even skiing this winter.” “It’s so gratifying to be able to return people to a quality of life they thought they’d never experience again,” says Dr. Stamos. “There’s so much we can do to help.”