One year ago, Leslie Paparone’s deteriorating right hip forced her to use a cane and to rely on a home delivery service for her groceries. By winter 2014, she could no longer sleep without pain and couldn’t bend down to tie her shoes.
But just three months after receiving a new hip in April 2014 at The Valley Hospital’s Total Joint Replacement Center, Leslie and her 16-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Burch, toured the Louvre, strolled along the Champs-Élysées, and explored the palace and gardens at Versailles during a trip to France.
Osteoarthritis had been destroying Leslie’s hip for the past three years, but the Ramsey resident soldiered on, caring for her ill husband until he passed away from cancer in October 2013. Then Elizabeth experienced significant health issues from December 2013 to March 2014 and needed her mother’s assistance.
“I had pushed aside my own hip problems, relying on medication to help relieve some of the pain,” says Leslie, now 57. “Throughout the winter, I had experienced such a swift decline that I had to make plans for the surgery.”
Leslie’s orthopedic surgeon, Mark M. Pizzurro, M.D., of Valley’s Total Joint Replacement Center, advised her to schedule the surgery as soon as she could. She began pre-surgical preparations in March, including attending an educational class with fellow joint replacement patients at the hospital.
Dr. Pizzurro and other Valley orthopedic surgeons perform total joint replacement surgery for hips, knees, shoulders, and ankles that have been debilitated by injury, arthritis, or other illnesses of the bones and joints. Special pain management and anesthetic techniques for joint replacement surgery help to minimize patients’ discomfort after the procedure. The center’s multidisciplinary team provides individualized care by guiding patients step by step from “prehab” exercise to rehabilitation therapy.
To replace Leslie’s right hip, Dr. Pizzurro used a minimally invasive direct anterior approach, which involved making an incision in front of her hip joint instead of the back or side. This unique anterior approach requires specialized training and is used by only a select few orthopedic surgeons.
“With an anterior incision there is no cutting into the muscle or tendons around the hip, so there is a reduction in pain and the patient is up and moving the same day,” says Dr. Pizzurro.
Epidural anesthesia used by Leslie’s anesthesiologist Wendy B. Silverstein, M.D., during the surgery also reduced her discomfort after the procedure. Physical therapy that began at the hospital and continued through Valley Home Care helped Leslie conquer several flights in her two-story home so she could return to cooking meals and working as a marketing consultant in her home office.
“I required very little pain relief medication and by my fourth week of recovery, I was able to drive my daughter to her activities and shop at the grocery store again,” says Leslie. “Elizabeth and I even went bowling!”
Without a new hip, Leslie says she never would have been able to take Elizabeth on their dream trip to France or to host two German high school exchange students in her home this past fall. Leslie, Elizabeth, and the girls enjoyed trips to the State Line Diner in Mahwah, a football game at Ramsey High School, and shopping at Paramus Park Mall – all eye-opening experiences for their teenage guests.
“My new hip made all of this possible,” says Leslie. “If I have to have my left hip replaced, I won’t hesitate for a minute to go back to Valley and have Dr. Pizzurro perform the surgery. He and the entire Valley staff were so professional and compassionate.”
For more information about the Total Joint Replacement Center at The Valley Hospital, call 201-447-8365.