Non-Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery

All my life I’ve been super active (dancer/movement therapist/healer), and by the time I was in my 70s, my left leg was in such severe pain, I surrendered and had X-rays taken. They revealed I had worn out all the cartilage in my hip, and joint replacement surgery was my only option.

As an indication of how repulsed I was at the thought of receiving an artificial body part, my first reaction was, “I’d rather be dead!” Well, since death wasn’t an option, I met with one of the top surgeons in NYC, and my operation was scheduled for May 27, 2011 at the prestigious Hospital for Special Surgery. Hattie, the holistic fanatic, was saying “yes” to hip replacement surgery.

Did I follow through with that? NO!

Here’s the story…

To get some needed rest before the operation, I visited my sister in Las Vegas. While there, a friend sent me this article from the New York Times dated May 10, 2011. It warned that certain hip replacements are metal-on-metal and that some metal shows up in the blood. I promptly called my doctor’s office, and they assured me that while he uses this type on certain patients, he would not be using it on me. That undermined my trust in him, and I canceled my appointment.  This left me with a severely damaged hip and no solution in sight.

In an attempt to help me solve this dilemma, my sister showed me an article she had cut out from a Las Vegas newspaper dated March 15, 2011. The headline read, “New implant technology more durable.” The article explained that with this procedure, no muscles are cut, the scar is only 2-3” and recovery is speedy with minimal pain.

Months before at the suggestion of a former dancer friend, I travelled up to Yonkers and met Dr. Corey Burak who specializes in this “Anterior Insertion” technique. But at that time, I was reluctant to undergo what I thought was an untried procedure. At that meeting, Dr. Burak assured me that he had successfully performed over 900 of this minimally invasive technique, and that it certainly wasn’t new or untried.

Having canceled with the other surgeon, I called Dr. Burak’s office, praying that he would accept me as a patient even though I had previously nixed working with him. He said, “Of course you can be my patient. It’s a very difficult decision, and I’m happy you feel confident about coming to me.”

I was ecstatic. My hip replacement surgery took place on June 20, 2011 at the Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, New York. For the first week, the post-surgical pain was severe, and I must admit, I had serious doubts about whether I’d ever be okay again. Others assured me that the pain was normal and I was healing wonderfully. Skeptic that I am, I didn’t believe them. But after returning home from four days in the hospital, I began putting weight on the leg and navigating with a walker. Within two weeks I was off pain killers and starting to feel like my old self again. With three-times-a-week physiotherapy sessions, I was able to give up the walker in five weeks.  And after six weeks, I was 100% pain-free and walking briskly without a walker or a cane.

My physiatrist, Dr. Douglas Allen, who initially was dubious about this method, checked my gait and the scar, and was so impressed that he told me he would share information about this procedure with his colleagues.

I’m thrilled to encourage people to seek out the dedicated doctors who offer this “Anterior Incision” technique. Regrettably, the muscle-cutting “regular” operation is still being used by the majority of surgeons who are reluctant to put their lucrative practices on hold while they receive the training necessary to master this technique. Fortunately, I was saved from having my muscles cut, risking one leg being shorter, having a clicking hip, a large scar and months of painful rehab. I consider myself blessed to have found Dr. Corey Burak.

Oh … never to have to limp again!