Quick Hip Replacement Corrects Fortysomething's "Pirate Walk"

ROGERS, Ark., June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pain in Mindy Shufelt's hip began several years ago and slowly got worse. Because of a physically demanding job where she's on her feet, she resorted to a strange gait to help her get through the day. She calls it "the pirate walk."

"Hitch and drag, hitch and drag," she explained.

An X-ray showed severe hip arthritis that was "bone on bone." Mercy orthopedic surgeon, Dr. W. Cody Grammer, recommended total hip replacement and because of Mindy's age and otherwise good health, she was able to leave the same day as her surgery.

Get Mercy's Guide to Hip Replacement Surgery

In her late 40s, Mindy isn't the typical hip replacement patient. She liked the idea of avoiding a hospital stay for financial and practical reasons. She also knew her medical team wouldn't recommend the outpatient procedure if it wasn't in her best interest.

"Hip replacement is great at relieving pain," Dr. Grammer said. "It's a great surgery where patients' happiness is measured at about 95 percent."

Mindy said the intense, grating pain she had felt for years was gone almost immediately. Three days after surgery, when she was able to take normal steps with the assistance of counterbalancing weights, she burst into tears.

"I'm very thankful for the surgery. I've even had numerous people comment about my appearance because the pain is gone from my face," she said.

Dr. Grammer used a "direct anterior approach," which allows the surgeon to replace the hip joint without cutting muscle.

"In general, people have less pain and are returning to work more quickly. You really don't even need physical therapy after your surgery. Most people just need to walk."

Dr. Grammer already sends about 95 percent of patients home after just one night in the hospital. Outpatient hip replacement is not yet approved for Medicare patients, and it's not covered by all insurance.

There are other features of Mercy Clinic Orthopedics' Joint Replacement Program that Mindy said helped her, including an hour-long class that went over what to expect from surgery and practical information about how to prepare.

"When you've walked incorrectly for so long, it will take time to think about your gait pattern and walk correctly again," she said.

Learn more about Mindy's story here.

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