Doctor becomes perfect patient following hip replacement surgery From Spotlight on Health - Winter 2012
Brett Pinkerton, MD, listens to Karen Felger’s heart during a recent clinic visit.
For several years, Brett Pinkerton of Sartell suffered from pain in her right hip. As a person who enjoyed being active, she found that even walking took great effort. Brett knew it was time to do something when her left hip also began hurting.
Following a trip to the Twin Cities in which Brett could barely get around, she consulted with Orthopedic Surgeon Joseph Nessler, MD, St. Cloud Orthopedics. Brett was the perfect candidate for hip replacement surgery.
So at age 46, Brett, an obstetrician and gynecologist with CentraCare Clinic, had hip surgery June 9, 2011, at St. Cloud Hospital to replace both hips that were worn out from developmental hip dysplasia.
“Just 10 to 15 years ago it was much less common to do hip replacements on a young active patient like Brett. Now the 45- to 64-year-old age group is the fastest growing segment of hip and knee replacement patients,” Dr. Nessler said.
The same day of surgery, Brett was up and moving. Not really knowing what to expect following the hip replacement, she was thrilled to be pain-free other than the discomfort from the incision.
She was in the hospital just three days following surgery. The doctor became the perfect patient.
“I did everything I was supposed to and was religious about doing my exercises,” Brett said.
The main challenge while recovering was getting dressed because of the need to lift her legs. Within a month she was swimming and now, more than six months later, has recovered almost 100 percent.
“Not having the chronic ache in my hip joint is such a gift,” she said.
As a person who helps others, Brett gained insight for those with physical ailments. She said her only regret is not having the surgery sooner.
About minimally invasive and muscle-sparing surgery
Total hip replacement is a common procedure that involves removal of the head of the femur and replacement of the ball-and-socket mechanism of the hip with artificial implants.
Newer techniques, technology (such as computer navigation) and implants have been developed to make hip replacement less invasive, shorten recovery time and prolong the durability of the implants.
Surgery can be performed through one or two small incisions, usually 3-6 inches long, instead of the previous 10- to 12-inch incision. Muscles are spread apart rather than detached or cut, allowing for a quicker recovery time and return to normal activities.
The Bone & Joint Center, a collaborative effort of St. Cloud Hospital and St. Cloud Orthopedics, offers a full array of specialty and subspecialty care in total joint replacements, total joint revisions, spine surgery, hand/shoulder surgery, foot/ankle surgery and sports medicine.
St. Cloud Hospital Bone & Joint Center
St. Cloud Orthopedics