Her situation finally began to catch up with her in her mid 30s. Her pain worsened. She couldn’t sleep and could barely walk. She developed a limp. She tried everything over the next 10 years, from physical therapy to cortisone shots. Nothing gave her long-term relief. Finally, at age 46, a friend recommended she see Jay R. Lieberman, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Keck Medicine of USC.
Tina was instantly at ease with the staff and surgeons at Keck Medicine of USC: “I met Dr. Lieberman and Karen Campbell, a registered nurse — they were both so good to me and made everything seamless. They made both me and my daughter feel comfortable.” After discussing her options, and seeing the level of deterioration of her hip, Tina and Dr. Lieberman decided to move forward with a total hip replacement.
“We reviewed the elective operation and educated Tina about her options,” says Dr. Lieberman. “What I always say to patients is that when disability reaches a point where the hip is dominating your life, then it’s time to consider total hip replacement.” Walking with a cane, and unable to enjoy the freedom of the outdoor sports she loved so much, Tina felt she was at that point.
Dr. Lieberman started Tina’s treatment three days prior to surgery with the implementation of a state-of-the-art pain management protocol. The goal of this preemptive analgesia is to block pain receptors in order to reduce post-operative pain. On the day of the surgery, he used a titanium bone ingrowth prosthesis to replace Tina’s hip.
As soon as she came out of surgery, Tina noticed a difference. “The relief was immediate. All that debilitating pain I had been having for so many years was gone. It was amazing!” Relieved and elated that she now had the opportunity to live the rest of her life without pain, Tina was able to walk 125 steps just an hour and a half after surgery. The USC team implemented a rapid recovery program that included nurses and physical therapists in the hospital and, later, at Tina’s home.
Just nine weeks after surgery, Tina was repelling down a mountain. “The surgery changed my life. It opened doors for me that were closing and shutting tight.” Today, Tina has regained her freedom, and enjoys hiking and kayaking with her two granddaughters. Tina also says she’s setting new goals for herself — ones that will take her, and her new hip, to even greater heights: “Next step, Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu!”