I had read with great interest the input on the board regarding traveling to get the best surgeon. In making my decision, I gave a great deal of thought to seeing Dr. Gross in particular because of his reputation and experience. In the end, I went with a local (Cleveland, Ohio) surgeon. I found a number of advantages. I initially consulted with two resurfacing docs in Cleveland following a referral by my orthopedic non-surgeon doctor whose colleague recommended a MOM THR (March 07). I then went to Ron van Mierlo’s list of docs and consulted with two surgeons in Cleveland who had each done about 40 resurfacings.
I found the opportunity to meet the doctors and their staffs in person very valuable as well as knowing something about the hospitals they operated in and their overall reputations in the medical community (I could also do this in half of an afternoon). I then had the time to wait (thanks to the information in this site) a couple of months, checking on the numbers of resurfacings each doctor had completed.
I did a fair amount of water jogging/walking prior to my surgery and think it was very helpful. I also did recumbent biking. I bought a flotation belt (Aquajogger) and a pair of Burdenko water walkers, a sandal type of thing that gives you a great workout without the impact pounding. I found my pain was lessened when I used these. I strongly believe that being in the best shape possible is a key element to a smooth recovery.
In June, I decided to schedule my surgery with Dr. Peter Brooks in August. He had done about sixty by June and was doing about 5 per week at the time. The other doctor did not seem so committed to resurfacings and I was learning the importance of having a surgeon with enough experience to do it the right way. I was able to call the PA and ask questions as they arose attend pre-op class and track the physician’s experience. It was much easier for me to call and consult once I had had an in-person meeting. Having surgery near home to me is the best piece.
After pre-op testing on Thursday, I came to surgery on Monday morning and was in my room by 2:00. My wife was able to hang around and then go home and come back. Issues of leaving the hospital and being on a time schedule were not problems. When I was ready to go on Thursday, I called up my wife and she came and took me home. There is some reassurance for me to know that if I had a problem, the doctor and hospital are nearby. A half an hour after release, I was home.
I went about a week and a half later to have my staples taken out and was scheduled for follow-up in six weeks. I realize that what I am describing are some of the intangibles of being familiar with as much of the process and environment as possible but this has turned out to be something that I am finding has made this a surprisingly smooth process. I also realize that having the option of waiting until the surgeon gained more experience, having a couple of doctors to choose from, and having time to schedule in advance all worked to my favor. Now that the surgery is over, I find that having my physician in the area is an added plus. That said, I think having an MD with adequate experience and expertise totally trumps convenience for this operation.At my six week check, I was walking with a cane. I asked Dr. Brooks about the anterior-lateral approach he uses. He said he favors it because it separates the muscle rather than cuts it and he feels there is virtually no risk for dislocation as a result. There was no 90 degree rule for me and my recovery thus far has been by the book. I use a cane most of the time but have begun to forget it at times. He said to use the cane until the limp is gone.
I have been very satisfied with the results and the process in general. At almost four months post-op, I am now walking about six miles once a week, working out at the gym, and already feel that I am better than I have been in the last two-three years and expect continued improvement.
Louis Weigele, LISW, BCD Director of Behavioral Health The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland lweigele @ thefreeclinic.org