Andrew Goes Home within 30 Hours after Hip Replacement Surgery
For Andrew Vaca, 47, movement and dance are as necessary as the air in his lungs.
Andrew is a dancer and choreographer who has worked in the world of professional dance teams for the NBA and the NFL and has taught workshops and judged auditions across the country. Andrew's dance background is extensive and his passion for dance is something he makes his mission to share with others. This passion has led him to California State University, Long Beach where he has worked for 13 years. Starting as a part-time faculty member Andrew worked his way up to the position he currently holds, Interim Department Chair of Dance. He teaches several styles of dance from jazz, modern technique to pedagogy and creative dance for children. When a sudden onset of pain in his left leg threatened to force him to give up pursuing his passion and his livelihood, he turned to the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial.
Though Andrew was no stranger to this type of pain; at 18 years old Andrew dislocated his leg. Andrew continued to dance on his injury and he eventually had to have his left hip replaced in May 2008. He returned to his regular routine but the severity of Andrew's injury combined with his highly active lifestyle put an enormous amount of stress on his joints leading to an intense pain that took him by surprise.
"I thought I just pulled a muscle," he recalls. "I kept pushing through but as time went on I was in more and more pain and had less mobility."
For help, he turned to Douglas Garland, M.D., medical director at the MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial. After examining him, Dr. Garland recommended that Andrew's right hip needed to be replaced.
"I had already had a hip replacement at Long Beach Memorial so I thought I knew what to expect, but to my surprise there were a lot of positive changes since my last surgery that enhanced my overall experience," he says.
The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial offers a comprehensive inpatient program that uses a revolutionary philosophy where patients get back on their feet the same day of surgery. Andrew's treatment began two weeks before his surgery with a special preoperative class for patients and family members led by the Joint Replacement Coordinator, Deborah Fenton.
"The goal of the preoperative class is to educate patients about what to expect after surgery," says Deborah. "The class is an opportunity for patients to prepare themselves and their family for the recovery process, and how to create a safe, recovery-friendly environment at home."
"The staff was wonderful and the preoperative class was a positive addition to the Joint Replacement Center and provided me with great information," says Andrew. "A major factor in my speedy recovery was the staff encouraging me to get up and move right away."
The Joint Replacement Center has a unique program built into its foundation designed to encourage patients to be active during their hospital stay leading to a faster recovery. Physical therapy, which is critical to recovery, starts almost immediately after surgery and continues throughout the patient's hospitalization.
"The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center guides those requiring hip and knee replacements through surgery and rehabilitation, while promoting wellness and an active hospital stay," notes Dr. Garland. "Our treatment team utilizes our revolutionary philosophy to encourage patients to walk with assistance immediately after surgery, move independently in a day or two, return home in two to three days and lead an active lifestyle in two to three months."
"I spent one night at the hospital and went home about 30 hours after my surgery," says Andrew. "At the hospital, I walked twice the day of my surgery. The next day I walked around the entire 4th floor and I even successfully tried walking with one crutch and then a cane, I was smiling ear-to-ear," says Andrew.
Joint replacement procedures have seen a number of medical advancements that help restore individuals to greater mobility faster and with little to no pain. "I never felt anything I would call pain, sometimes there was a bit of discomfort, but mostly I felt like I needed to pace myself and work on getting my energy back," says Andrew. "I am amazed at how quickly and easily I have regained my abilities and my strength."
Several ground breaking advancements in joint replacement science and materials allow the procedure to be minimally invasive with a faster recovery. Advance prosthesis made of wear resistant materials; are more resilient to wear and tear allowing prosthesis to last longer. These modern advancements open joint replacement as an option to younger patients that were often forced to wait until their mid-60s to become candidates for joint replacement. Today's medical advancements in the field of joint replacement has allowed patients like Andrew to get back on their feet and moving, pain-free.
"My road to recovery was smooth as glass," says Andrew. "As a dancer and dance educator, I have high hopes when it comes to recovery because my livelihood relies upon me being able to move fully and effortlessly. I know I'm a bit younger than the typical hip patient, but I'm solid proof that hip replacement surgery can give you your life and your job back! Thanks to the efforts that began in the Joint Replacement Center right after surgery, I have returned to my normal routine quickly and easily."