An avid aerobics enthusiast, Doris has always exercised and believes she eventually just “wore out her hips.” Two years ago, she realized it was time for both of them to be replaced.
Total Hip Replacement Surgery
In the summer of 2019, the time had come to consider surgery options based on the pain she was experiencing. “It started to affect my daily routine,” Doris, who turned 80 this year, explained. “I had pain walking, getting into a car, even sitting. Basically anytime I had to move my hips, I’d have pain.”
While living in Florida, she had her left hip replaced, but was shocked when she originally stood up to discover one leg was significantly longer than the other. “I had to wear a lift in one shoe,” Doris said. “But living in Florida, it’s hard to wear a lift in a sandal, so I would sometimes just limp.”
This summer, Doris decided to come to Chicago where her daughter and son-in-law live to have her right hip replaced and get the necessary support from family to recover. Thankfully, her daughter had done significant research online, coming to the conclusion that Illinois Bone and Joint Institute had exceptional surgeons who specialize in hip replacement surgery.
An Orthopedic Surgeon Who Listens Carefully
Together they ended up scheduling an appointment with Dr. Sean Sutphen. “I didn’t know what to expect, except for what I saw from the wonderful recommendations that I read,” Doris said. “From the first meeting, I was totally impressed with the way he listened to everything I had to say. He didn’t rush us, and he really paid attention to all of the issues. I’m so grateful for that.”
One of Doris’s concerns was a heart issue – an embolism – that occurred during her first hip replacement surgery. Dr. Sutphen prescribed blood thinners to help prevent this complication during her hip replacement surgery.
Her main concern was correcting the length of her legs, something that had been affecting her balance and quality of life. Dr. Sutphen affirmed he would address this problem during the surgery.
The night before her surgery in mid-June, 2021, Dr. Sutphen called her at home to offer reassurance. “I was so shocked. He just wanted to tell me that he felt everything was going to go very well. There’s something very special about a doctor who would take the time to do that.”
Hip Surgery Replacement Recovery
After the hip replacement surgery, Doris woke up in the recovery room where she felt no pain thanks to the medication administered to her. She remembers the nurses getting her out of bed pretty quickly to start walking. That’s when she came to the realization, to her delight, that her legs were precisely the same length. Dr. Sutphen visited her, confirmed all went well, and gave her two pieces of good news. One, she would only have to stay one night in the hospital, and two, she would not be sent to a skilled nursing facility. To protect against COVID, she would go directly to her daughter’s home where at-home therapy would begin.
Physical Therapy for Total Hip Replacement
Physical therapists visited Doris during her hip replacement recovery time to help her rehabilitate. While at her daughter’s home, she learned how to navigate stairs and walk again. Weeks later, she began to adhere to a daily routine of prescribed exercises. “I would march, lift my knees high, move side to side and use exercise bands to stretch and strengthen my muscles,” she said.
Doris has since discarded the lift she used to wear in her shoe, and, now at eight weeks post surgery, she often forgets she even had hip replacement surgery. “In no time at all, it seems I switched from a walker to a cane, and then I didn’t need that anymore. I feel that I was so fortunate in having such an amazing surgeon, and also, at this age, to have made such a fast recovery.”
Success: A Total Recovery from Hip Replacement Surgery
Like many others, Doris opted to get a pet during COVID. Her puppy Ozzie has kept her very busy, and she’s thankful that she has returned to walking him daily and she can bend over his food and water dishes without any problem or pain. Now that she’s 100 percent, she’s planning to return to Florida for the winter.
One of the things she’ll share with friends in Florida and anyone else interested in knowing about her hip joint replacement surgery, is that life is too short to live with hip pain. “I know for many people this can be a very scary surgery, but if you’re able to do it I don’t think you should neglect doing it.”
Doris learned that despite her hip replacement age, she’s made a full recovery. She attributes this to great communication with her orthopedic surgeon, and listening and adhering to the regime of her physical therapists.
“I had some wonderful help with the physical therapists and because I like to exercise, I tried to follow through with everything they told me to do,” Doris said. “They said eventually it would get better and it did.”
Request an Appointment with a Hip Surgeon
Need to see a doctor for your hip pain? Make an appointment today with a hip surgeon—online or in person—to learn about treatment options that can get you back to feeling your best.
*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.