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Lansdale woman’s hip replacement brings her back to the sports she loves

Mary Beth Stefanowicz, 45, moves at the speed of life. Besides playing competitive tennis for many United States Tennis Association teams and local teams throughout the year, the mother of five also finds time to coach her children’s sports teams.

Mary Beth Stefanowicz

Mary Beth Stefanowicz

She says, “Over the years my body’s gotten a bit beat up. I herniated three back discs when I fell and broke my tailbone, had a broken leg, arm, fingers, multiple sprains – you name it. When I was 41, the pain in my lower back got really bad.”

She consulted an orthopaedist at a Philadelphia hospital. “An x-ray showed my hip was completely arthritic. The doctor wanted to schedule me right away for a hip replacement. I had things going on, graduations and tennis. So I put it off,” she adds.

But the pain continued. She consulted a few more orthopaedists over the next few years. Meanwhile, she started talking to friends. 

“A few people I know had had their hips replaced by Dr. Andrew Star and his name kept coming up in conversations,” Mary Beth says. “I am a religious person and I do believe God sends us signs and things happen for a reason. I had already rescheduled my ‘traditional’ hip replacement surgery with another doctor three times, so what was one more time? I decided to go see Dr. Star for a fourth opinion and find out about anterior approach hip replacement. On January 21, 2011, just days after Abington Health opened the Orthopaedic & Spine Institute in Lansdale, I met with Dr. Star and scheduled my hip replacement for the fourth and final time for March 15, 2011.”

Andrew M. Star, M.D. is medical director of the Orthopaedic & Spine Institute (OSI) and chief of the Orthopaedic Surgery Division at Abington Memorial Hospital. OSI offers patients the most innovative medical/surgical treatments for hip, knee, and spine conditions both at the new dedicated unit at Lansdale Hospital and at AMH. Many of these procedures are performed with minimal incisions, allowing patients like Mary Beth to return to daily life with shorter hospital stays and few, if any restrictions. OSI surgeons also provide care for sports injuries, hand injuries, trauma and more at multiple Abington Health locations

Mary Beth adds, “Dr. Star is a wonderful man. There was no pressure, he calmed my fears and concerns and offered support in saying that an anterior hip replacement was a reasonable decision given the condition of my hip. He told me I could be back on the court in eight weeks if I took it easy and gave my body time to heal.”

Dr. Star explains, “Anterior hip replacement involves making a ‘mini-incision’ on the front (anterior) of the hip joint while the patient is positioned on a revolutionary Hana® operating table. We remove the diseased hip through a natural interval between the muscles, so the most important muscles for hip function are undisturbed. “

After Mary Beth underwent a right anterior hip replacement with Dr. Star at Lansdale Hospital, she raved about her experience. “I was so impressed with everyone who cared for me and with the OSI!” she exclaims. “It was so beautiful. I felt like I was at a spa. Every hospital experience should be this way. I got so much attention. They really spoiled me. “

Best of all, Mary Beth woke up to no pain. “Four of my five kids were C-sections and the pain then was excruciating,” she recalls.

“I had this surgery on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:30 a.m. and was home by 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 17. I was out of bed in the afternoon the day of the surgery. Wednesday, I was doing laps around the floor and after I went up and down the stairs in the hospital, they said I could go home.

“That Sunday I was coaching my daughter’s field hockey game. I used my mom’s old walker just to be careful because I’m so animated, but I felt fine. When I got home, I put the walker away and didn’t use it again. After 12 days, I was driving. No one was more surprised than me at how fast I was recovering!

“I saw Dr. Star four weeks post op. He told me I was doing great and released me until next March. I played my first Philadelphia interclub match on May 16 – eight weeks and one day after surgery. I lost, but I was thrilled – I had no hip pain! Why did I wait so long?

“Dr. Star is a phenomenal talent and so down to earth,” Mary Beth adds. “I can’t say enough good things about everyone at the OSI.”

Play on, Mary Beth. The OSI team is rooting for you.

For more information about the Orthopaedic & Spine Institute, call 215-481-BONE.

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