Stand up to Hip Pain
Dance aerobics took a toll on Pamela Thorfinnson’s left knee, and later, her hip. “It was overuse. I kind of abused it. I was heavy into exercise for a long time,” Pamela said.
A knee replacement was followed by a hip replacement last May. By July 4, the 57-year-old was hiking in Estes Park, Colo.
Once a procedure reserved for those older than 60, advances in artificial parts and surgical techniques have made hip replacement an option for younger and older patients.
“As a nation we are doing more hip replacements,” said orthopedic surgeon James Gallentine, MD. “You see more of the extremes, the super-young 40-year-olds, those in their 80s and 90s. It’s hard to tell someone they’re not a candidate.” One factor is that artificial hip parts last longer. Another is how the medical team addresses the entire surgical episode from start to finish.
Preoperatively, the team sets up the patient for success by providing education on the procedure in surgery education classes. This prepares them for the road ahead.
Operatively, the medical team has optimized the surgery for better outcomes, including better blood management and pain and nausea control – all factors that speed recovery and healing.
While still in the hospital, the medical team gets patients moving and provides additional early mobilization education. “Because of this approach, most patients manage their pain with lower-grade narcotics, perform well in physical therapy and return post-operatively with minimal pain and a better quality of life,” said Dr. Gallentine.
“The length of stay is shorter. Patients seem to recover quicker. We just try to make it as uneventful as possible.” All those factors helped Pamela bounce back.
Pamela has returned to the gym and her job as an equipment specialist for Lincoln Public Schools. “It’s a very active job,” she said.