Mark Ellis figures that within five years or so he will need to have hip replacement surgery for his right hip.
And while he's not necessarily looking forward to the surgery, "I won't be afraid to have it done," says the 54-year-old Portage resident. The reason is made clear by noting that a little over two weeks after he had his left hip replaced at
Borgess Medical Center he was back at work at Schawk, where he is a Customer Service Representative in packaging.
"It was the best decision I ever made to have the left hip replaced," he said. "I don't need to have the right hip surgery immediately, but I have what they called 'deep sockets' and my hips are more prone to arthritis.
Dr. Todd L. Ream is an orthopedic surgeon with Kalamazoo Orthopaedic Clinic, part of the Borgess Bone & Joint Institute, who performed Mark's hip replacement surgery.
A Bronson native, Mark is an experienced lithographer who has an Associate's Degree in general printing from Ferris State University. He and his wife, Diane, have a son, Danny, 24, and daughter, Lisa, 21.
For several years he has ridden a bicycle, weather permitting, the 17-mile round trip to and from work. He currently rides a three-wheeled bicycle called a TerraTrike.
Mark started having hip pain after he had arthroscopic surgery three years ago to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. "I ran track and cross-country in high school and beat up my knees and hips," he said. "I don't think that the running caused my hip problem but it probably didn't help."
About a year ago the hip pain started to get worse and he had difficulty sleeping. In September 2011, during an annual physical, he told his physician about the pain and he was referred to Dr. Ream, who had done the meniscus repair.
"The hip X-rays showed bone on bone," he said. "My hip was shot."
On January 28, 2012, Dr. Ream performed a new kind of surgery called anterior hip replacement, which does not necessitate cutting muscle.
"The surgery, which I was the first to do here, requires a special table and it's more surgically demanding," Dr. Ream said. "But from the patient's perspective there's no question that it's better. The pain level is markedly reduced and pretty much all my patients go home the next day. Recovery is much quicker.
"Even the nurses have asked what I am doing differently because the patients just do much better."
Dr. Ream said that while Mark's legs were stronger from the years of biking, the muscles in the area where he works are not big and bulky and didn't present an especially difficult problem.
Dr. Ream performed the surgery at Borgess starting at 7:30 a.m. and at 3 p.m. Mark was in a regular hospital room and was able to walk. Thirty-three hours after he was admitted, he was discharged.
"If I have a choice to do the anterior hip replacement or the traditional hip replacement, there's no question that I would chose the anterior surgery," Dr. Ream said. "There's a huge difference. I think that within 10 or 15 years almost all surgeons will use this method. It's here to stay."
Mark said that after surgery he went to the Borgess Joint Camp and, after walking on stairs, was told that he didn't need to use a walker, only a cane. "They put in a pain cocktail during surgery that Thursday and I didn't start having any discomfort until Saturday," he said.
Mark took the next two weeks off from work, and returned half-time for the week after. "I would be fatigued when I got home," he said. "I can still feel that the muscles around the hip are not quite back to where they should be, but the hip pain is gone completely. I can sleep through the night."
He has even returned to riding his trike to work.
Are you interested in learning more about the Borgess Bone & Joint Institute? Visit their website at bonejoint.borgess.com.
Last Week's Doc Talk: Dan Villanueva loses 80 pounds with the help of Borgess Health & Fitness Center.
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