Dr. Hosalkar performed a full hip preservation surgery with open safe surgical dislocation on Dennis’ right hip and also repaired cartilage damage. The procedure was quick and Dennis was able to recover in the comfort of his own home. “I had my surgery on a Wednesday morning and was discharged on Friday around 1 p.m.,” says Dennis.
The recovery timeline for hip preservation surgery is much quicker than total joint replacement. “For large tears requiring an open surgery, most patients will still be able to get back to their regular physical activities with no restrictions within 10–12 weeks,” says Dr. Hosalkar. “Arthroscopic surgery has even quicker healing time.” For Dennis, he was driving 17 days after his operation, back to working full time within four weeks and skiing after just 11.5 weeks. “I was in Utah skiing and that wasn’t just on the groomers,” says Dennis. “I skied the bumps and the steep as well. My hip felt just fine.”
Dennis is excited that he was able to return to his active lifestyle so quickly and has inspired others who are facing the possibility of hip surgery and worried about the possible impact on their active lifestyles. “I joined a Facebook page where people who have had this procedure would post their experiences,” Dennis remembers. “When I posted [my story], a couple of men who were facing this procedure thanked me for giving them some hope.”
Now that Dennis is free of pain for the first time in decades, he’s ready to tackle activities he couldn’t do before and even pick up some old hobbies he’d given up. “I am thinking about trying surfing this summer. My son is a surfer,” Dennis conveys excitedly. “I am interested to see about swinging a golf club since I had issues being able to rotate through my hips prior to surgery. I have a list of home projects to accomplish.”
Ten or 20 years after earning a place on the all-star, varsity and college teams, many former or lifelong athletes like Dennis are now suffering pain and restricted motion in their knees. Luckily for these patients in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, new surgical approaches allow them to preserve their natural hip joints and avoid or delay a total joint replacement for several more decades. Best of all, these new approaches get patients like Dennis back on their feet faster so they can return to what they love doing.