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Breaking free from pain

After spending a year in excruciating pain, Eddie Gutierrez, 64, decided it was time for something to change. "The pain was so terrible it would bring me to tears," he recalls. "I had lost 25 pounds because I didn't have an appetite. I was only sleeping two hours a night. I would move from the bed, to the chair, to the couch, but nothing would make the hip pain go away."

Eddie, a Vietnam veteran, had been unsuccessfully dealing with the pain with a regimen of pain medicine prescribed by his doctor. After one year without any decrease in his pain, he and his wife, Marilyn, decided it was time for a change.

An about-face

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs referred him to Caleb Vosburg, MD, Shannon Clinic orthopedic surgeon and medical director of the Shannon Orthopedics Center. After an evaluation, Eddie's hip replacement surgery was scheduled for Feb. 4, 2015.

"Mr. Gutierrez had severe arthritis of his hip that greatly impacted his quality of life," Dr. Vosburg says. "He was normally very active and took good care of himself, which made him a good candidate for joint replacement. After a thorough preoperative evaluation, he underwent a total hip arthroplasty and was walking the same day of surgery on his new hip. He did very well after surgery and has had a smooth recovery."

"I had surgery at 7:30 that morning and was walking that evening," Eddie recalls. "By that Saturday I was walking with a cane, and nine days after surgery I no longer needed it. Dr. Vosburg is a good doctor; he did wonders for me."

At his six-week follow-up in March, Eddie was way ahead of his post-surgery schedule. He went from not having the motivation to perform everyday tasks to once again enjoying retirement with Marilyn.

"He did very well after surgery and is now able to do many activities he was unable to do previously," Dr. Vosburg adds. "I expect he will have a pain-free hip for the rest of his life and continue to enjoy an active lifestyle."

Marilyn is also thrilled with Eddie's progress and the outcome of his procedure.

"It's been wonderful to see the change in him," Marilyn says. "We love to cook, and we were able to host a party for some friends. Before his surgery, Eddie didn't feel like doing those things."

Don't wait

The thought of having a surgical procedure can be daunting for some, but Eddie has some advice for those who are unsure.

"Don't wait," he says. "There's no need to be in pain for longer than you have to. I am an advocate for anyone who is thinking about having a hip replacement. It changed my life for the better."

The Orthopedic Center at Shannon Medical Center is a newly renovated 10-bed unit designed to serve orthopedic patients and facilitate recovery. The center offers a wide variety of orthopedic services, including joint replacement and reconstruction, treatment for sports injuries, and physical therapy. It is staffed by specially trained nursing staff with advanced skill in orthopedic care, and it also features an interdisciplinary team to address all aspects of orthopedic recovery, including physical therapy, nutrition, pharmacy, respiratory services and case management.

The center is proud to work with an expert team of orthopedic surgeons who use the most advanced imaging technology and surgical procedures to help you get back on track and enjoying life again.

Fast facts about hip replacement

  • The first hip replacement surgery was performed in 1960.
  • More than 285,000 hip replacement surgeries occur each year in the U.S.
  • The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint and is one of the body's largest.
  • The age range of hip replacement patients is 50 to 80.
  • Arthritis is the most common reason for hip replacement surgery.
  • The average hospital stay after surgery is a few days.
  • Artificial joints last 15 to 25 years.
  • Exercise is an important part of recovery. Most patients are able to walk the day of their surgery.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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