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Diving In Again

Swim Coach Has “Amazing Recovery” from anterior hip replacements

Sue McDonald at diving board

Susan McDonald, 53, of Lansdale, never expected to be sidelined by hip pain. “I’ve always been very active, as a diver and swimmer, and an avid walker,” she explains. “In addition to being the diving coach for North Penn High’s team for the last 15 years, I also coach at local summer pools.”

Susan’s hip joints had been destroyed by rheumatoid arthritis, for which there is no cure. When the pain first hit, she kept moving. “Then it got so bad I couldn’t even sit in a car.” She consulted Andrew Star, M.D., Director of Abington Health’s Orthopaedic & Spine Institute at Lansdale Hospital and Abington Memorial Hospital. The orthopaedic surgeon recommended successive anterior hip procedures to replace her severely arthritic joints.

Dr. Star explains, “Anterior hip replacement is an excellent choice for active adults who want to quickly return to a higher level of activity. The anterior approach allows us to make a smaller incision in the front of the hip, where there’s a natural interval between the gluteal muscles. We can remove the diseased hip without detaching muscle from the pelvis or femur (upper leg bone), preserving the muscles needed for hip function. Patients benefit from less pain and a faster recovery—with no post-surgical restrictions that limit driving, working or moving about safely.”

Susan adds, “I was going to wait, because our team diving season starts in November and can go all the way to March. But Dr. Star said I’d be recovered in plenty of time to coach. “I had my right hip done at the end of September 2011 and followed that up six weeks later with the left hip in mid November as the diving season was starting.  Amazingly, I was up and walking within a week and returned to coaching within two weeks.  She wanted to be there to mentor five senior members of her team. “They all have a chance to make it to the Pennsylvania state meet in the postseason. I have coached some of them since they were children and they are all high-level divers”.

“I’ve been telling everyone I meet how wonderful Lansdale Hospital is,” Susan continues. “It’s a totally different hospital now. The orthopaedic unit is great, and the nurses and service are fantastic!   “For my first surgery, I had to be there early. While I couldn’t eat before my procedure, my husband was very hungry. The nutrition host came to take my lunch and dinner orders for the day. When he returned, he brought my husband a great bacon and egg sandwich,” she says.

“I’m so happy I did it!” she exclaims. “I only needed pain medications and a cane for a few days, then I was finished with both.  And I had no restrictions!”

Now, Susan is walking her dogs, spending time with her husband, and guiding the North Penn team on the diving platform.

“Dr. Star is amazing. The whole experience has been so great. I would recommend Dr. Star and Lansdale Hospital to everyone who needs orthopaedic care,” she concludes.

Glad you’re back in the swim of things so soon, Susan.  Sounds like it’s exactly where you love to be.

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