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May 14, 2013 > Hip, Hip, Hooray! The Conclusion

Hip, Hip, Hooray! The Conclusion

Brothers Share an Uncommon Life Experience with Hip Replacement

Brothers Glen and Mike Lenhart have lived in Fremont nearly all their lives. Following in their father's footsteps, each brother now runs his own deli in San Jose. Glen and Mike also share a love of soccer. That mutual love of soccer and the physically demanding work at their delis may have contributed to their shared experience of painful, chronic hip arthritis. They even shared the same cure - minimally invasive hip replacement surgery at the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research (IJRR) at Washington Hospital. Their surgeries were performed on the same day by the same orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Alexander Sah.

This is the conclusion the Lenhart brothers' story of hip replacement and recovery. Part one was published on March 26.

It was Time for Hip Replacement Surgery

"I couldn't take the pain any more," Mike says. "The cortisone shots weren't working as long as they originally did. It got to the point at work where I had to sit down when there was a free moment, which didn't come frequently enough. If I went to the mall with my wife Jennifer, I'd have to sit down every 10 to 15 minutes. I couldn't sit still in the car - or in a movie theater. It was time."

But finding enough time to have surgery wasn't easy. Finally, the brothers both decided to have surgery on December 18 - the week before Christmas. They typically close their delis to take vacation the last two weeks of December, when business is slow, and they extended the time an additional week to allow more recovery time.

"Sometimes in the past, we took our Christmas vacation on Maui, but this year it was on Mowry (Avenue)," Mike quips. "The bottom line is, this is how we support our families, though. There is no way we could have shut down for six weeks."

"We told Dr. Sah we absolutely had to be back at work in three weeks," Glen adds. "We also chose the same day because we're brothers; we do a lot of things together. We wanted to motivate each other."

The brothers attended a class with the IJRR staff a week prior to surgery to learn what to expect before, during and after surgery. Dr. Sah explained the hip replacement implant, surgical procedure and recovery in detail.

"There have been a lot of developments in new types of hip replacement surfaces," says Dr. Sah. "All of the implants have their pros and cons. We believe, though, that the 'gold standard' for hip replacements is a metal ball with a highly cross-linked polyethylene surface. The goal is to minimize wear, so that the patient can expect the hip replacement to last. Metal-on-metal bearings may shed cobalt ions into the patient's bloodstream. Ceramic implants may fracture more easily."

The brothers' surgeries each lasted about an hour. They stayed in the hospital in adjacent rooms overnight and were discharged the next day, walking with only canes for assistance.

"The staff at the hospital was absolutely fantastic," Glen remarks. "Even the volunteers were amazing. I couldn't have asked for better."

Mike concurs, "The staff treated us like family. They would joke with us and were always concerned about our comfort level."

Dr. Sah notes that the brothers did their share of post-surgery joking, too. A few hours after surgery, Dr. Sah went in to examine Mike and inquired how he was doing. Mike said with a straight face that he had only one complaint - about the "baby" crying in the next room, referring to older brother Glen. Glen, of course, contends that the crying sounds came from somewhere down the hall.

Before they were discharged, the brothers received instruction in physical therapy exercises and advice to speed their recovery. Washington Hospital also arranged for a physical therapist to visit each brother several times at home, teaching them new exercises and monitoring their medications. Two weeks later, they saw Dr. Sah for their first post-surgery appointment, walking without their canes. And sure enough, a week later they were back at work.

"The first week of recovery was painful, but I managed with Tylenol and Advil," Mike says. "My brother and I would call each other and compare notes and symptoms. It made me feel better when he was having the same problems, so I didn't feel like the only one. I was back at work after three weeks of recovery and didn't have the pain I had been experiencing for five long years. I know other people who had hip replacement surgery with other doctors, and their recovery time was much longer than mine. They all told me, 'Oh, there is no way you will be back to work in three weeks.' But I was."

Glen adds, "We had to be diligent about not overdoing the physical therapy, and once we went back to work, we had to take some precautionary measures such as restricting the range of motion in the hip. We also had to be careful about not lifting anything too heavy for a while. Still, people can't believe I got back to work in three weeks, and that I'm not limping any more. It's like a miracle."

Six weeks after surgery, the brothers had their second post-op appointments, and all was going well.

Glen returned to his regular gym.

"People often take things for granted, like getting out of bed or bending over to tie a shoe," he says. "I got to where I couldn't do any of those things, let alone exercise. I am so much better. There are days now when I don't even think about it. Dr. Sah has given me a new lease on life. I can't say enough nice things about that man."

Mike also joined a new gym with his family, and he's back to riding the bicycle that he hadn't ridden for a couple of years. He and the family also are planning a cruise to Alaska for a week in July.

"I am feeling great," he says. "My hip doesn't hurt any more. There is no pain. I owe my health to Dr. Sah."

So what about this year's Christmas vacation? Where will they all go this year in December?

Mike responds with a chuckle, "Anywhere but Mowry Avenue."

For more information about the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research, visit www.whhs.com/joint-restoration or call (888) 494-7003.

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