Dr. Thomas Schmalzried
Bob Singer - June 13, 2005, Dr. Schmalzried
Greetings! I’m Bob Singer, and here’s the tale of my tail.
I was in a car accident in 1978. The front of the car tried to get closer to the back, and I sustained a not unusual injury to my right leg – dashboard into knee, knee pushes femur, femur pushes through back of acetabulum. Bummer. Two pins were inserted to hold the acetabulum chunk in place, and life goes on OK. It’s interesting to note that I was diagnosed with aseptic (avascular) necrosis of that right hip, femur specifically, in the late 70’s, subsequent to the surgery – 25+ years before my resurfacing operation.
Years go by, as they will, and I was an active sort – volleyball, snowboarding, mountain biking. As the new millennium approached, the hip started to hurt more, have diminished range of motion, and feel stiff. More years go by (no stoppin’ em!) and yearly x-rays show continuing loss of cartilage and changes in the femoral head. Progressively, I was getting less mobile and flexible and having more pain.
I finally stumbled on the Yahoo! surface hippy web group, established by Keith Brewster. I was encouraged when I saw the picture of the surfer (having been an avid one), thought it an omen. I read lots about resurfacing, corresponded with a few orthopedic surgeons, learned about the various resurf devices. The course I chose: a Depuy ASR device, and Dr. Tom Schmalzried at the Joint Replacement Institute (JRI) in LA.
My status pre-op, per a radiologist’s evaluation of my x-rays a couple months before my June 2005 operation: “Osteoarthritis. There is severe degenerative arthropathy with obliteration of the cartilage space, marked subchondral sclerosis, cyst formation and juxta-articular spurring. Flattening of the femoral head, probably due to articular surface collapse.” That ain’t good.
So, eyes on the prize, I had the surgery June 13, 2005. I imagine that my hip was challenging, given its degenerated state and the two pins that were sort of in the way. What I know is that, post-op, I had little swelling, little bruising, and a scar that other medical professionals admired. I started going around the block on crutches….. then the stationary bike…the physical therapy….now, it’s hard to remember when I wasn’t as fit as I am now. The days I used to have to sit there and steel myself just to rise to my feet, and stand there preparing to take a step – whew!, that was then, this is now.
Now, I’m AOK. Hike, weight train, stationary and mountain bike, wrestle with the kid, it’s all good. 3 ½ years out, as of December 2008.
Just do it. Feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Schulte Surfer 1/21/02 Dr. Schmalzried
Dan uses a "goofy foot." That's surfer jargon for a right-foot-forward stance.
Surfing is the essence of life for Dan, 47. The Hawaii resident, native of California and retired biology teacher has been at it for more than 35 years, and is a longtime member of Hawaii's north shore surfing community. In 2001, the progressive onset of degenerative osteoarthritis in Dan's right hip threatened to wipe out his surfer lifestyle. The "goofy foot" had never been a problem; the "bum hip" definitely was. "I had been living with some pain for a while, but I was getting by," Dan said. Then after an annual two-week backpacking trip in the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area (Sierra Nevada, Calif.), he was suddenly struck with chronic pain, a stiff leg, and walked with a limp. "It seemed like it came on very fast," he said. "I ate a million Ibuprofens, but I knew this was very serious when I had a surf session a few months later at Hookipa (Maui) during the beginning of the winter surfing season.
It was a "sizeable day," he said referring to the waves, and the regular surfing crowd was on hand. Dan took his turn on the swells, but he was unable to execute the "pop up," which is a quick, athletic move to go from the belly position to placing the feet on the board as the wave comes under you "I couldn't get my right leg up. I got pitched. And it happened three times in a row," he said. "Not only did I get thoroughly pounded in the breaks, but it was totally humiliating to get trounced like that in front of the regular morning surf crew." Soon he couldn't walk more than a few hundred yards before the pain became more than he could take.
He felt like all the things he loved to do - surfing, hiking, backpacking, climbing - would evaporate from his life, and he became depressed. "I was very bummed out." So, with the encouragement of his wife and friends he began researching the pros and cons of various hip surgeries. In particular, through information gained from the Joint Replacement Institute in Los Angeles, he was drawn toward a clinical trial for hip resurfacing using the Wright Medical CONSERVE® PLUS Implant.
He had surgery in January 2002, and began working a rigorous recovery and rehabilitation program. He spent six weeks on crutches, but within two weeks of surgery he was walking two to four miles a day on the crutches, very gradually putting more weight on his right leg and revamped hip "I made rehab my full-time job, and I did everything they told me to do," Dan said. "I was determined." He transitioned to using a cane and continued walking up to four miles per day, did physical therapy three or four times per week, worked out his upper body at a local gym, and swam freestyle and with a kickboard at a pool. At about 60 days he started training specifically for surfing, doing "pop ups" on a rubber mat, and other exercises.
At exactly 12 weeks after surgery, his 44th birthday, his board shaper called and said "let's go," and they took their boards to Maui's south shore where there were some modest swells rolling in. "I took a longboard out, and there was a spot with a soft wave. I made it upon the first try and it was easy after that," he said. "Man, what a feeling. I can't describe how much it meant to me." A few months later, Dan and his wife commenced a 14-month around-the-world surf adventure that started in Santa Cruz, Calif., took them to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Maldives, Fiji and back to California. "The hip was incredible, I am so stoked," Dan said. "I have taken my CONSERVE® Plus implant and surfed the great surf spots all over the world. I also did quite a bit of hiking on that trip (to 17,000 feet elevation), and I had zero problems." Dan says he is confident he will surf for another 20 to 25 years, and he credits his surgeon, Dr. Tom Schmalzried of Los Angeles, and Wright Medical. "Oh, I hope to surf lots of challenging days until I'm at least 65 or 70," he said. "I am immensely grateful, because surfing will keep me alive and vibrant."
January 20, 2008
Haven't visited in a while but wishing all the best. I maintain an interest in keeping the data flow for those w/ an interest in resurfacing so...Tomorrow will mark six years post op for me and all is well. I maintain my primary passion for surfing and cannot blame a bad session on the hip! Sometimes I wish I could, which might have kept me from being beaten in large surf yesterday! I still walk/hike regularly though the principle activity of interest for me is surfing, and the hip is still stellar. I know we've got a few more resurfs here on Maui now, having one of our local MD's & another regular at Hookipa here on our N. Shore being amongst the new. Any surfers concerned about the outcome of resurfacing and it's impact on their ability to stay active in the surf, please email. Otherwise, thumbs still up!
C+ (R) 1/21/02 Schmalzried/JRI
May 18, 2008
I don't visit this site all that much these days but periodically check in. Indeed I'm a surfing surfer, just past about 5.5 years and doing well. Feel free to email, or even potentially phone & chat sometime. I'm stoked to meet other surfers w/ our hip, even our local skin doc has been done recently. Anyhow, just a quick touch base as I saw you request for contact. Vicky had me identified, but here I am seeking you as well. Also, I quickly scrolled on a 'surfing' search and noticed someone is headed to Hawaii inSept....I'll be here and if any traveling surfers make their way to Maui,lets get a session. You can check my pics under surfpupmaui (all are post op pics). I'm hoping to add a few new Fiji pics as I go to Tavarua every spring w/ a Maui group and while I'm using shooting the pics, this year someone got a few of me. Now I just need to get copies Hope to hear from you. BTW, while the winds have been pushing vog up toMaui , it is ideal conditions for Hookipa and we've been graced a very late season pulse on our north shores. It's been pumping and very good the past three days with another round of light winds & new swell slated for later in the week. Hope some of the energy is passing your way.
Also, if any of you resurfs are in California...I'm visiting a friend for ten days starting next week. I'll be based in Carmel and will be on the huntfor waves while in town even if it is a shoulder time of year for surf.Anyone in the area wishing to hook and and chase a session or two (or manyif there's any swell). Bottom line for me...hip works very well, non-issue w/ my surfing!!!
C+ Dr. Schmalzried/JRI 1/21/02
Jim Roxburgh – Martial Artist, Bilateral 11/22/04, Dr. Schmalzried
Thank you for the opportunity to participate. I am a strong believer in this procedure. I was told by two orthopedic surgeons that my athletic career was finished. When I found the solution, I was thrilled and am
Happy to share my story.
Wilton, CA 95693
I am 50 years old. I have been active my entire life in sports. I have been a long distance and ultra distance runner, competing in running events up to 100 miles. I have been a triathlete, competing in events up to the ironman distance. I have been and continue to compete as a road cyclist. My “signature” activity is martial arts. I am a 5th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have been a student of Grandmaster Myung Kyu Kang for 35 years.
In 1997, I began to experience pain in my hips. As someone who trained several hours each day for many years, I was used to pain. Athletes become aware of “good” versus “bad” pain. Good pain leads to improvement in fitness and improvement. Bad pain is an injury that can be devastating to an athlete since we must train and compete! I was initially in denial about my hip pain, thinking it was “good” pain. I gradually figured out that I must have something wrong since the pain became so severe over the next few years.
As a martial artist, I spent countless hours working on my kicking techniques. As my hips degenerated, stretching and kicking became quite painful. Eventually, my hips deteriorated to such an extent that walking and even sleeping were painful!
In 2003, I received the diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis in both my right and left hips; my left hip was worse. I didn’t need an MRI to tell me that! I met with two orthopedic surgeons who told me my active days as a martial artist were over! I was told that I needed a hip replacement on my left hip and eventually on my right hip. I remember walking out of the surgeon’s office feeling like I had been diagnosed with a life ending illness and only given weeks to live.
After feeling sorry for myself for about 10 minutes, I decided that I was going to find a better answer to this problem. I researched via the internet and medical journals and discovered a procedure, hip resurfacing. I read the story and saw the story on Dateline of a ballet professional who had bilateral hip resurfacing and was back to performing at a world class level. I was crazy happy!!
I pursed this hip resurfacing with my health plan. Although initially approved, my health plan denied paying for this procedure two weeks before my surgery date! Approved than denied, I suffered another setback. This approval/denial process went on for a few months with my health plan. When I was told that I should call back in 6 months, I was fed up! I called and told this to my wife. She said, “lets go ahead and pay for it!” In my researching for hip surgeons, I had discovered that Thomas Schmalzried, MD was one of the top hip surgeons in the world.
I flew to Los Angeles, CA for my evaluation with Dr. Schmalzried. I greatly appreciated his clear explanation of my problem and his frankness on options available to me. Immediately I scheduled my procedure.
On November 22, 2004 I had bilateral hip resurfacing by Dr Schmalzried at the Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital. On November 25th, 2004 (Thanksgiving) I returned home to Northern CA to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with my family. For the next two weeks, I crutched around my house, worked at my desk and even road my bike on a stationary trainer for 5 to 20 minutes a day. I did some light weight training and stretching.
Two weeks post-op I was back to work using crutches and light weight bearing for 6 weeks. BTW, I cheated a lot, going without crutches occasionally throughout the day.
By three months I was back on my road bike, competing. I was lifting weights and was stretching for my martial art training. I had to work through some scar tissue that is a natural bi-product of surgery of this magnitude.
My current activity schedule (September 2008)
- Stretch, lift weights, kick (martial art style) 3 hours each day
- Road bike 100 – 250 miles per week
- Martial Art training 2 – 4 hours each week
I am so thankful for the hip resurfacing procedure and especially thankful for the skillful hands of my surgeon, Dr. Schmalzried. I realize that hip resurfacing is not the hip replacement procedure for all cases, but, given the right patient, it is a wonderful solution to hip osteoarthritis. I am a new man!! Dr. Schmalzried told me several times that his goal is to help his patients, “Live their life!” I am living my life to its fullest extent. I am happy to share my story with anyone in a similar situation. Life is precious!
LIVE YOUR LIFE!!
Peter Davidson Tennis Bilateral 1/7/08 - Dr. Schmalzried
Today is November 23, 2008 and I played a set of tennis and took a jog after the tennis in anticipation of playing in the National 40’s tournament in La Jolla CA in December.
I had pretty much given up on the idea of competitive tennis at the end of 2006. I had started to experience significant pain in day to day activities and tried a cortisone shot before the national 40’s that year. I stumbled around the court in pain and figured I was in deep trouble. I had been doing the egoscue physical therapy regimen for that year since the pain had started in 2005. I tried changes in diet, vitamins, food supplements, acupuncture and tons of Advil.
My father had both of his hips replaced and my older brother had one of his hips replaced with a THR a few years earlier. My body had that predisposition for hip trouble. I thought I had avoided those problems up until that time.
At the end of 2006, I met with a doctor friend who suggested arthroscopic surgery as apposed to a replacement. He did not believe in the Resurfacing option if I were to go the replacement route but he did think he could give me some more time with the arthroscopic alternative.
I had arthroscopic surgery on my left hip in March of 2007 and my right hip in May 2007. The doctor went in with 3 scopes and cleaned up my hips by taking out bone spurs, sewing back together some pieces of cartilage and also putting divots in my acetabluar or hip bone to promote bleeding and maybe grow back some cartilage. The recovery from these surgeries was tough as there was significant pain and very limited range of motion. I like to surf and was still unable to sit on a surfboard. The doctors put me on Volteren and I was able to move better but nothing satisfactory. Some folks seem to do well with that alternative but I wanted to be able to lead an active life including running and tennis.
I visited a prominent total hip replacement specialist who was friends with my other doctor. He did not like the resurfacing option and said come back in another 3 months as it was only 3 months after the arthroscopic surgery. When I came back the doctor said he would do a resurfacing on one of my hips but not both at the same time, described as a bilateral operation. I knew I needed both hips done and did not want to suffer through 2 more recoveries. I scheduled a bilateral total hip replacement and fortunately the date was 4 moths out.
At that time I was reading everything I could get my hands on regarding hip resurfacing. I regularly visited every web site and message board I could find. I found the most active doctors in southern California and found either Dr. Ball in San Diego or Dr. Schmalzried in LA. Fortunately, Dr. Schmalzried was closer, could see me sooner and took my insurance.
I did not want to be a guinea pig for the total hip replacement specialist Peter Davidson Serveand Dr. Schmalzried was able to do a bilateral resurfacing for me. It is generally recommended to find an experienced surgeon with resurfacing as the placement of the prosthesis on the femur bone can be tricky. I had the surgery on January 7, 2008.
The old pain was immediately gone. While the recovery from surgery was typically tough, my progress in walking and moving was very hopeful. I had attempted to stay in decent shape with the yoga moves I had learned from the egoscue therapy. Those physical therapy exercises were critical in my recovery.
Dr. Schmalzried said to just start slow in any endeavor. I told him of my goal to play in the La Jolla nationals and it looks like I will attain that goal. I definitely recommend my doctor and the resurfacing option.
Peter J. Davidson
Update August 16, 2009
Posted on Surface hippy Yahoo Message board
Had a good day today, won the 45 singles and my friends said I was moving like
they would never know I had a hip resurfacing
Been sticking with my PT routine and feel great, this message board was a great
help to me back when I was going through the nightmare of not being able to walk
without pain and a limp
Update January 25, 2010
Hello fellow surface hippies, just checking in with the latest results Won the 45 doubles and lost in the 45 singles final - the early rounds got rained out so we played 8 game pro sets, 2 singles matches and 2 doubles today.
Hope this give motivation to anyone worried about playing sports after a resurfacing, surfing decent too.
Peter bilateral 1/7/08 Dr. Schmalzried