A New Lease on Life

Patrick SheldonAt 62 years of age, retired Minot school teacher Patrick (Pat) Sheldon’s hip pain was so severe he struggled to do the simple things in life, “I was in a lot of pain; it felt better not to do anything,” said Pat. After seeing several medical professionals, Pat was referred to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Bopp with The Bone & Joint Center in Bismarck. “Pat suffered from degenerative arthritis; a type of arthritis that develops because the shape of his hips were not completely spherical,” explained Dr. Bopp. “Basically, my hips were shot,” said Pat. In August of 2013, Pat had his first hip replacement surgery at St. Alexius Medical Center. Because he was in good physical condition, Dr. Bopp chose to use the anterior approach for Pat’s total hip replacement surgery.

According to Dr. Bopp, the anterior approach to total hip replacement is becoming more popular because it can be less invasive. Hospital stays can be shorter, and recovery and rehabilitation tend to be quicker for patients. “In the anterior approach, an orthopedic surgeon accesses the hip joint through the front of the body and between the hip muscles that help hold the hip joint in place. Smaller incisions are possible with this procedure versus traditional hip surgery,” stated Dr. Bopp. “In addition, the minimal disturbance of the muscle also allows for a quicker recovery and rehabilitation.” Two days post-surgery, having met all his physical and occupational goals, Pat was released from the hospital.

As soon as it came time to have his other hip replaced, Pat recalls seeing a date on Dr. Bopp’s surgery schedule that caught his eye. “I’m kind of superstitious,” said Pat. “My first surgery was on a Thursday morning and everything went so well. On a Thursday morning in March of this year, his birthday, Pat was wheeled into one of St. Alexius’ surgical suites.

When the physical therapist stopped at Pat’s room around noon, he was awake and ready to start his road to recovery. “I remembered everything I had to do from the time before,” said Pat. By that afternoon, he was walking down the hall with two physical therapists in tow. “When the occupational therapist visited, I told her I already had all the toys (home medical equipment). When we did the steps, I volunteered to do them twice.”

The minute Dr. Bopp stopped in Pat’s hospital room Friday morning, he knew his patient was ready to be discharged. Pat stated he was so impressed by everyone who cared for him during his stay at St. Alexius. “I have a lot of trust in Dr. Bopp, and the staff at St. Alexius was so professional. I was never short of care.”

“Another benefit of the anterior approach to hip replacement is the fact that it leaves the muscles intact so that the joint is more stable, thus reducing the chance of hip dislocation,” said Dr. Bopp. “Most patients whose surgeries were done with an anterior approach are able to bear full weight soon after this surgery, which means progression to return to normal activities occurs rapidly.”

Pat continued to surprise people with his recovery. His physical therapist was amazed how well Pat was walking and took his walker away after the second week. “I was taking it for a walk more than walking with it.”