Hip To Be Spared

Protocol limits muscle cuts, shortens postop stay after joint replacement.

When rapid advancements in television technology turned those old, bulky vacuum tube sets into museum pieces a decade or so ago, Myron Johnson was forced into a challenge that dates to the stone age.

Evolve or get left behind.

“I wish I could have had the procedure done 10 years ago because it’s given me a whole new outlook on life.” - Myron

“I wish I could have had the procedure done 10 years ago because it’s given me a whole new outlook on life.” – Myron

“For 20 years, I was a TV repairman,” Myron explains. “I had my own little shop where I repaired TVs and VCRs. Then flat screens came out, and pretty soon people didn’t have much use for those old tube TVs anymore, so my business dried up.

“It was right about then, though, that I met a guy who had a computer shop. He had all these old-style monitors and offered me $25 a pop to repair them. I took the job, and after a while he started teaching me all about computers.

“He started out teaching me DOS language and then Windows, and I eventually closed my shop and went to work for him working with computers and networking. I’m semi-retired now, but I still do a little IT work on the side thanks to him.”

There’s a part of Myron that wishes he had made that career shift into IT a few years earlier. After all, for more than a decade, he paid a painful price for all the years he devoted to fixing those heavy, unwieldy TV sets.

“I had to lift a lot of those big TVs back when I was fixing them, and as a result I dealt with problems in my right hip for about 12 years,” the 57-year-old relates. 

“It started out slowly but got really bad four or five years ago. It eventually got that I couldn’t even walk on my own. I had to use a crutch. If I stood up for five or 10 minutes or tried to lift anything, even a small computer, it would ruin me for the rest of the day.”

Myron worked through the incessant pain for years. Work and the rest of his life was “miserable” though because the only time he wasn’t hurting was when he was sitting down. That eventually led to another problem.

“Because I couldn’t stand up for any more than a few minutes, I started gaining weight,” Myron reports. “At one point, I weighed 429 pounds. So I had all that extra weight pulling down on me that just made things worse. 

“I got to a point where I considered myself a party pooper because I couldn’t do anything. My family and I went to Disney World once, but I had to stay at the hotel all day because I couldn’t walk the parks and didn’t want to use a wheelchair.”

Following that disappointing trip to Disney World, Myron began addressing the problem. First, he went on a diet and lost 130 pounds. Then he sought medical help from his primary care physician, who told him he needed to have his hip replaced.

“My primary care physician is a very good doctor,” Myron adds. “She treats me like I’m her father, and I greatly value her opinion. She sent me to Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America, and I’m glad she did.”

Advanced Technique 

Since opening in spring 2019, Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America has specialized in a protocol for the surgical replacement of hip and knee joints in an outpatient setting.

Developed by the clinic’s founders, Philip E. Clifford, MD, and Paulina J. Collier, MPAS, PA-C, the protocol eliminates the need for long postoperative hospital stays and allows for speedier recoveries.

“One of the factors that’s most unique about our protocol is the medicines we use,” Dr. Clifford explains. “One of those medicines is called Exparel®. It’s a long-lasting, non-opioid, local anesthetic that can last for two to three days.

“Another feature that’s unique about our protocol is the surgical technique we use. With our hip surgery, for example, we use a technique where we are not assaulting the muscle and detach only one tendon from the hip, which is then repaired anatomically.”

The technique results in less trauma to the tissue surrounding the hip and less blood loss. There is also a reduced chance that the length of the leg will be changed, according to Dr. Clifford.

In addition, Dr. Clifford’s hip procedures are performed through an incision three to four inches long. The small incision is what allows for the preservation of muscle attachments, which is why patients are back on the move hours after surgery.

“Patients can return to activities almost immediately,” Dr. Clifford ensures. “In fact, we encouraged them to do just that. Another important aspect of what we do is spend an incredible amount of time educating each patient before surgery. We spend 45 minutes to an hour getting them ready for surgery and for what to expect and do afterward.

“When our patients go home after surgery, they know that between 4 and 7 o’clock that night we’ll be calling to check on them. It’s not them calling us; it’s us calling them. That level of patient care does not exist in many places these days.”

Life-Changing Results 

The surgery on Myron’s right hip was performed by Dr. Clifford last July. 

“I wish I could have had the procedure done 10 years ago because it’s given me a whole new outlook on life and literally changed the way I live my life,” Myron exclaims.

Myron now fills his days with activities he couldn’t carry out before the surgery.  

“I’m moving constantly now, staying active all the time, and one of the things I love to do is swim. That’s one of the things I did to help lose all that weight, but even that became hard because of my hip. Now I can swim and go to stores and walk, and I love it.

“Another thing, I used to live off of ibuprofen. I was taking that all the time to ease the pain, but I can’t remember the last time I took any because I haven’t needed it. That’s how great I feel, and it’s all because of Dr. Clifford.

“He had me up and walking the same day of the surgery, and I went through the physical therapy like it was nothing. That’s why I say, If you’re in excruciating pain, go see Dr. Clifford. You can’t go wrong.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo courtesy of Myron Johnson. mkb
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