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Hip replacements help seniors get back in action

Hip replacements are one of the most common joint surgeries in the United States and patients don't necessarily need to fear they will adversely affect their quality of life.
Hip replacements are one of the most common joint surgeries in the United States and patients don't necessarily need to fear they will adversely affect their quality of life.

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Hip replacements are one of the most common joint surgeries in the United States with more than 300,000 performed every year.

Although older Americans are often in greater need of the procedure, many fear it will impact their quality of life. Medical experts say just the opposite can be true.

Marilyn De Martini has been an avid yoga practitioner and instructor for the past 40 years, but for all the health benefits she still struggled with hip pain that wouldn’t go away no matter what she did.

“I tried every homeopathic and alternative route including PRP [platelet-rich plasma] injections, stem cell injections. I did not want to have surgery,” she said.

Dr. Adam Lipman, an orthopedic surgeon with Broward Health North, said the resistance to surgery is common but many patients who go through it are ultimately surprised by the result.

“Most people come in and they’re been afraid to get it checked out they’ve been afraid there’s going to be a problem because they’re afraid someone’s going to recommend surgery immediately, but in hindsight, most people say they wish they’d done it earlier,” Lipman said.

Lipman said that improvement in outcomes is due in large part to changes in technique, technology and post-recovery pain management.

“I do think with the implants we use the techniques we use and the pain management techniques that we have people are recovering much, much faster,” he said.

Within two weeks of surgery, De Martini was teaching both fitness and yoga classes again.

“It was amazing to me that the pain I’ve had for three years was gone and the little bit of muscle stiffness I had afterwards I was able to work out with walking and just some regular stretching in a couple of weeks,” she said.

Hip replacements can last 15 years or longer, meaning senior patients can live pain-free without the need for an additional procedure.


About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.