Cheryl Hare appreciates the simple things these days, like being able to take a leisurely walk. There was a time not so long ago when she wasn’t able to enjoy outings with her dog or a stroll through her neighborhood park. Back then, Cheryl was battling hip problems that resulted in the replacement of her right hip. Unfortunately for the 77-year-old, the total hip replacement surgery didn’t go so well.
“I still had swelling; I was uncomfortable, still taking pain medicines,” Cheryl recalls. “It was hard to walk.”Her failure to recover and make progress after her surgery led Cheryl to seek additional help for a revision procedure. That’s when she found Venkat Rapuri, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and at Orthopedic Medicine Specialists, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice also in Arlington.
Upon his evaluation, Rapuri discovered a more pressing issue than Cheryl’s right hip. “I noticed that she had a severe arthritic left hip as well that was also impacting her walking ability,” he explains.
The hip was bone on bone. Cheryl needed a second total hip replacement, this time on her left side. The decision was made to do a minimally invasive anterior approach to surgery, much like she had had with her first hip replacement. The procedure promotes a quicker recovery because the muscles around the hip aren’t cut and there is less pain.
“Dr. Rapuri asked a lot of questions and watched me walk to better understand what was going on,” Cheryl adds. “He said the left hip was almost gone and that he wanted to address it first. I felt confident with his recommendation. I felt like he knew what he was doing.”
With anterior hip replacement, a small incision is made near the front of the leg rather than the back (posterior) to allow for easier access to the hip joint for removal of damaged bone and cartilage. An artificial hip can then be implanted without damaging surrounding tissues.
What would be different this time with the surgical approach was the lack of a traditional operating table requiring traction for Cheryl’s leg during the procedure. Instead, an operating table specially designed for anterior hip replacement procedures would be used. The innovative table available at Texas Health Arlington Memorial allows for better body positioning and direct control by the surgeon over hip movement during the procedure.
“Although an anterior approach was used during Cheryl’s surgery on her right hip, her hip got out of socket on the traditional table and she ended up with a subtle fracture of the femur bone in her leg,” Rapuri says. “Her mobility became impaired and she developed a limp when the fractured bone settled into its new position. The advanced technique used for Cheryl’s second surgery lessened the likelihood of pressure being put on her femur and the potential for another fracture.”
“That surgery just went like a breeze; there were no problems,” Cheryl happily reports.
After eight weeks of recovery and rehabilitation, the Arlington resident was getting around without the use of a walker or cane. Today, she is grateful for each step she can take and her new-found independence. Her left leg is fixed. She is pain free and continues to build strength in her right leg.
Cheryl attributes her improved mobility to the care provided at Texas Health Arlington Memorial, along with the pre-surgery education and resources that were made available to her through the hospital’s joint care program.
“I do pre-op education; I’m the patient’s go-to person, along with the offices, if they have questions about their upcoming procedure or hospital stay,” says Samantha Church, orthopedic coordinator at Texas Health Arlington Memorial.
Church joins Rapuri and the staff at Texas Health Arlington Memorial in their goal of getting patients fully prepared and knowing what to expect throughout their time in the hospital.