Regaining His Stride

Vince GundrumThere are two sides to the story of Vince Gundrum’s hip replacements.

The left side and the right side – two surgeries, two years apart, two different procedures. The happy ending is one 82-year-old glad to be walking to church again.

A lifelong walker who would hike the 30 miles roundtrip from his home in Menomonee Falls to the Holy Hill shrine as a regular pilgrimage, Gundrum was sidelined by arthritic hip joints several years ago.

“There was just terrible pain, I couldn’t really walk anymore,” said the retired autoworker.

Surgery in July 2009 to replace his left hip gave Gundrum partial relief, but then his right hip kept him from regaining his stride.

Then Gundrum learned about a new procedure, anterior hip replacement, which might reduce the post-operative pain and shorten the time of recovery over the standard approach. Gundrum went to Timothy Morton, MD, Froedtert Health Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon, who confirmed that Gundrum was an ideal candidate for the procedure.

“The second surgery was almost miraculous compared to the first one,” Gundrum said. “It was like day and night – so much better, with less pain and I recovered fast.”

“Posterior is the standard approach,” Dr. Morton said. Surgeons make an incision on the back of the hip, and must cut muscle to access the joint, Dr. Morton explained. Becoming more widely adopted in the past few years, the anterior approach reaches the hip joint from the front.

“The procedure doesn’t involve cutting any muscle, so patients are up and functioning sooner and seem to have less pain,” Dr. Morton said. “They can get out of bed and sit much sooner, and often leave the hospital earlier. Typically, they come to their follow-up appointment two weeks later without a walking aid.”

After his first hip replacement, which Dr. Morton performed, Gundrum took about six months to recover fully. His second surgery was a completely different story.

“I was cutting grass two months after surgery. It was unbelievable,” he said.

Despite the benefits of the anterior approach, it isn’t right for every patient, Dr. Morton explained.

“The anterior procedure is for patients with a slimmer body and sturdier bones, who do not have a lot of other health issues, and whose hip joint is not severely deformed or arthritic,” Dr. Morton said. Determining which procedure is best should be discussed by a doctor and his or her patient, Dr. Morton noted. “The important thing is that each patient is evaluated individually,” he said.

No matter which hip replacement procedure surgeons use, it is part of a complete sequence of care at Community Memorial, including pre-operation education, discharge and home care planning, and rehabilitation.

Gundrum and his wife have used Community Memorial for their care throughout the years, and are grateful to have exceptional care close to home.

“They were super, super good to me at the hospital. I can’t say enough about the hospital, the doctors and nurses,” Gundrum said of his experience.