My Hip Replacement Experience with Dr. Jason Hochfelder
As a 63 -year old woman, my arthritis and deteriorating joints had become the controlling factor in my life. Although the change in my physical condition seemed to come upon me suddenly – only two years ago I traveled to Africa on safari – in truth the decline in my physical condition had been a steady one. Grinding and searing pain in my hips, chronic aches in my knees, pain down my legs, the inability to bend and chronic fatigue became part of my life.
My effort to find relief began with my knees where the pain was continually intense. Knee braces, wraps, over the counter ointments, cortisone shots all proved useless. With MRI and x-rays in hand I visited the first orthopedic surgeon who summarily proclaimed,” You need hip replacement”, and turned me over to his assistant.
Expecting a recommendation for my knees, I was stunned. Hip replacement was major surgery with a long, painful recovery. I was unprepared and unsure of what to do next.
Thankfully I followed the advice of a colleague and contacted Hudson Valley Bone and Joint Surgeons, LLP. From my first appointment with Dr. Jason Hochfelder I knew I was in good hands.
Dr. Hochfelder shared both hip and knee x-rays with me and patiently explained that my hips, not my knees, were in fact the cause of my pain and needed to be replaced. Using a model, he explained the surgical procedures for both the traditional posterior as well as the minimally invasive anterior hip replacement surgeries. He presented too the possibility of replacing both hips at one time assessing that I could be a candidate for dual hip replacement. Stressing the advantages and disadvantage of each procedure and the pros and cons of replacing both hips in the same surgery, Dr. Hochfelder spent more than an hour answering my questions and helping me make the decision to elect dual anterior hip replacement.
The personal attention from Dr. Hochfelder and the staff at Hudson Valley Bone and Joint Surgeons reassured me that I had made the right decision. Since work and family obligations forced me to postpone the surgery until July 2016, however, there was ample time for friends and other medical professionals to question my choice. “Why don’t you go to New York City?” “What is Dr. Hochfelder’s experience?” “Are you sure you should do two hips at the same time?” “Where is Phelps Memorial Hospital anyway?” I was asked. When I began to worry that hip replacement would not address the pain in my knees, Dr. Hochfelder told me the story of his grandmother who had the same ailment corrected by the surgery. When I was concerned about the pre-surgical requirements and timing, surgical coordinator Ms. Maggie McDonald considered all of my needs in arranging schedules and providing information. As my surgery approached and my anxiety increased, Ms. McDonald was the calm, reassuring voice patiently returning my calls and alleviating my fears. Dr. Hochfelder called me the night before the surgery to answer last minute questions and to suggest that I at least try to get a good night’s sleep!
Dual anterior hip replacement so capably performed at Phelps Memorial Hospital by Dr. Hochfelder and supported by wonderful nurses at the hospital and the outstanding team at Hudson Valley Bone and Joint Surgeons gave me back my life. On the day of surgery I was standing; on the second day I used the walker to make my way to the physical therapy center. Dr. Hochfelder took the time to speak to my family, visit with me on both days and explain that the anterior approach meant that I had virtually no restrictions during my recovery. From the start I could stand, sit or lay in any comfortable position, I could exercise and walk, I could even drive when I felt ready as long as I did not need narcotics for pain. Since I only required extra strength Tylenol, the early opportunity to drive proved to be a strong motivator.
Because I live alone and had both hips replaced at the same time, I entered a rehabilitation facility after four days in the hospital. Even there therapists were impressed with my progress and were amazed at the range of motion, freedom from pain, and permitted activities possible with the anterior hip surgery. I walked with a cane 7 days after surgery. Within 9 days I could climb steps, dress myself and get in and out of bed unassisted. I returned to resume my life in a multi-level home, return to work part-time during post-surgery week four and continue physical therapy as an outpatient.
I am so grateful that Dr. Hochfelder’s considerable skill and confidence allowed him to operate on both of my hips in the same surgery. In retrospect, I doubt I could have fully participated in the physical therapy had I still experienced the level of pain in one hip and leg that existed prior to the operation. On the 1-10 pain management scale used in the medical setting, my pain level before the surgery was 12. Following my dual anterior hip replacement my pain level was never more than 6 and on most days hovered around 3!
This surgery – dual anterior hip replacement, this hospital – Phelps Memorial Hospital, the staff at Hudson Valley Bone and Joint Surgeons and most importantly, this surgeon – Dr. Jason Hochfelder, were all the right choices for me. I could not be more pleased with the results.