Jay Gangi - LC+ 3/15/05, Dr. Beule - RBiomet 12/07, Dr. Gross
In October of 2004, I was 41 years old, limping from left hip pain, and generally miserable due to my physical situation. A well-respected San Francisco orthopedist had already told me to quit playing basketball and taking my runs out to the Golden Gate Bridge. My hips were not properly aligned and I had developed osteoarthritis. Like a car with worn down brakes, my cartilage was shot. He offered me two choices: total hip replacement (THR) or Vioxx. Fortunately, I met Dr. Vincent Fowble at a wedding. He told me about his work with Dr. Amstutz in LA regarding resurfacing. Though at the time it did not have FDA approval – this procedure seemed promising.
After some more research on my own (thanks to the Internet), I met with Dr. Amstutz’s associate – Dr. Tom Schmalzried (also perhaps the world’s tallest orthopedic surgeon). I clicked with Dr. Schmalzried, but he was not covered by my insurance. Oddly enough, a third associate in their practice, Dr. Paul Beaule was covered. On March 15, 2005, Dr. Beaule resurfaced my left hip as part of the clinical trial for the Wright Conserve Plus device. Within a few months I felt pretty good, but began to realize that my right hip felt pretty bad now too. However, Dr. Beaule had moved back to Canada. After consulting with Vicky and other folks in the Hippy Surfacing community, I choose Dr. Thomas Gross to resurface my right hip in December 2007. Though it was a long trip to South Carolina, Dr. Gross and his team made the entire process very easy. We actually turned it into a family trip over the holidays. I recommend that anyone seeking help with painful hips contact Dr. Gross and send him your X-rays. He’s done 1,300 resurfacings and is a compassionate, caring doctor. Click to visit grossortho.com.
The moral of this story is that you need to take charge of your pain and situation. Too many people are willing to just take pain killers (which will destroy your liver) or let the local orthopedist give you a THR because that’s what he’s been trained to do. Fortunately, my wife Victoria was able to give me the support and encouragement that was needed to see these surgeries through. It wasn’t an easy road – we had two children born during this time, there were battles with insurance companies, I had to take time off from work, and there was plenty of physical rehabilitation too, but it was worth it. I’m a better person, husband, and father without the hip pain.