Patient Success Stories

Forecast: Sunny days, blue skies after new hip

Well-known weatherman Brad Sussman looked forward to his hip replacement with sheer enthusiasm, knowing he faced a faster recovery than he had following a joint replacement nine years ago. Seeking the least invasive option possible, Sussman chose Dr. Larry Lika of Southwest Orthopaedics for the anterior approach to minimally invasive hip replacement. 

I was blown away by the difference,” said Sussman, whose first hip replacement nearly a decade ago had been state-of-theart at the time. “This is absolutely the way to go.” In 20 years of practice, Dr. Lika has had many patients who have experienced the posterior approach on one hip and the anterior approach on the other side. With the anterior approach, the surgeon reaches the hip from the front of the joint between two muscles, rather than cutting through muscle and reattaching it. The hip ball and socket are removed and replaced, through small incisions, limiting post-operative discomfort.


“Minimally invasive doesn’t just mean a smaller incision,” says Dr. Lika. “It also means that you’re not destroying all the muscle and tissue below it, which is where the pain comes in.” Sussman was standing and walking the day after surgery and went home from UH Parma Medical Center three days later. “There is a day and night difference,” says Dr. Lika, whose patients come to the office two weeks after surgery without a cane or a walker. UH Parma Medical Center’s Joint Camp has earned the Gold Seal of Approval for health care quality from the Joint Commission. For a referral to one of the orthopedic surgeons on the UH Parma Medical Center Medical Staff, call (440) 743-4900. Less than three weeks after surgery to replace his hip, Brad Sussman was cycling on a stationary bike and doing squats and side leg raises.


Therapy strengthens new hips

Less than three weeks after surgery to replace his hip, Brad Sussman was cycling on a stationary bike and doing squats and side leg raises.


While these exercises took place under the watchful eye of physical therapist Mike Scharf, they would have been difficult to even imagine doing so soon after his first hip replacement, a traditional surgery over nine years earlier.


Physical therapy with trained specialists is advised to ensure proper post-surgical care of the new joint. As patients who have undergone a traditional hip replacement can attest, they must be very careful not to bend past 90 degrees and to sleep with a pillow between their knees to avoid crossing their legs or ankles. Such motions could dislocate the new hip.


“With the anterior approach, the therapists can be much more aggressive in rehab, because you don’t have to worry about dislocation,” says orthopedic surgeon Larry Lika, DO.


“The muscles have not been disturbed. You will never fully get your function back without physical therapy,” Scharf said. “Patients really don’t know where to start on their own, or they can develop other problems by performing exercises the wrong way. “Our brain is smart and finds ways to compensate and avoid pain. Therapists are trained to help patients work through that and exercise safely.”


Sussman attended physical therapy sessions in the facility adjacent to Southwest Orthopaedics’ office in Medical Arts Center 4. For an appointment at one of our many therapy locations, call (440) 743-4025.


Brad Sussman

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery repairs body’s most flexible — and most often dislocated — joint

Simply check out Kevin Jennings’s golf swing to witness the success of his shoulder surgery.

Within a month of an operation to repair his rotator cuff, Jennings was hitting the links.

Jennings was helping a friend pour concrete when a sharp motion tore the rotator cuff in his shoulder. He could feel the tear and the subsequent pain, which he withstood for nearly six months before finding Andre Wolanin, MD of Southwest Orthopaedics Inc.

Many patients like Jennings experience pain for an extended period before seeing a doctor. The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the human body, with the widest range of motion. But the socket, in which four tendons attach muscles to the upper arm, is very shallow. Consequently, the shoulder is the most frequently dislocated major joint in the body.

“By the time people in our country turn 60, a significant percentage have rotator cuff tears,” says Dr. Wolanin, who performs a high volume of shoulder surgeries. “If it’s an acute injury, the person may feel a pop when it occurs. Or over time, if the rotator cuff weakens, it feels like a rope that isn’t connected.”

A rotator cuff injury would make it difficult to serve a tennis ball, shoot a basket, hammer a nail or put a gallon of milk in the refrigerator. A damaged rotator cuff may present nagging pain, especially at night when sleeping puts pressure on the shoulder.

Repairing the rotator cuff, typically an arthroscopic surgery, involves only three or four small incisions. The patient goes home the same day. Two months of therapy ensure a healthy recovery with a low complication rate.

And if they’re like Jennings, they’re back on the golf course in barely a month. Within three months of his surgery, Jennings also painted the entire interior of his home – a strain on even the healthiest of shoulders, but not a pain to him at all.

“I was surprised myself,” says Jennings, who even hung some wallpaper during his redecorating rampage. “I had no pain – nothing. Dr. Wolanin did an excellent job.”

Now retired, Jennings works out regularly and doesn’t have to restrict his exercising at all. “I do all the machines, weightlifting over my head and everything,” he says. “I never have a problem.”

Kevin Jennings