Throughout his forties, Mark Turley, 55, was extremely active. In 2011, he ran four half-marathons, including the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, before he began to have persistent pain in his groin. As an avid runner, Mark brushed off the pain and continued running. However, during a local 5K, he couldn’t ignore the nagging pain and struggled to finish the race.
As an employee of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mark had access to team’s medical providers including Thomas Sisk, MD. Dr. Sisk diagnosed Mark with stenosis in his lower back, and gave him a steroid injection to help with the pain. A year and a half later, his hip and back pain became unbearable and he was referred to an orthopaedic spine surgeon. In Fall 2014, Mark underwent back surgery to relieve his stenosis and was further diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both of his hips. His doctors then introduced him to orthopaedic surgeon, Brian Klatt, MD.
After reviewing his X-rays, Dr. Klatt confirmed that Mark was the perfect candidate for a bilateral hip replacement. His motion and function was equally compromised in both hips, and there was only a minimal increased risk from the bilateral surgery. Although the initial recovery would be a little more challenging, the simultaneous procedure promised only one recovery period.
“I was surprised I needed a hip replacement, especially that I needed to have both replaced,” said Mark. “But after seeing the X-rays, there was no cartilage.” Mark explained that he and his family were initially hesitant at having both hips done at the same time. “Dr. Klatt discussed the procedure at great length with me and my family. He never tried to persuade us one way or the other and always left it up to me. I knew I wanted to do both. I wanted to face only one surgery; I was already in great shape and figured I could get a little stronger before the surgery.”
However, Mark’s family wasn’t so sure. “I knew the risk was minimal, but six weeks prior to the surgery I could still see my family was concerned. Dr. Klatt then introduced us to a patient who was four to five years older than me and was doing great after having the same surgery,” said Mark. “It helped ease our concerns by seeing his X-rays and how well he was doing.”
Mark scheduled his surgery for October 2015 at UPMC Shadyside. Prior to his surgery, Dr. Klatt discussed recovery options with Mark and also introduced him to Manisha Trivedi, MD, who would oversee his pain management After surgery, Mark spent five days recovering at UPMC Shadyside. “The first few days were rough,” explained Mark, “But by the second day, I was using a walker; and by the third, I was on crutches.” After the first five days, Mark decided to continue on with his in-patient rehab at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute at UPMC Mercy.
“By the tenth day post-op, I was back home and doing really well,” said Mark. “I remember going back to Dr. Klatt two weeks after my surgery and even the nurses commented on how well I was walking.”
For the next few months, Mark continued physical therapy at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “Working for the Penguins, I do a lot of walking on game nights. It used to be so hard,” said Mark. “I’d go home spent and lay on bags of ice. There was a burden on my family when I was not able to do basic things like walking my dog,” he explained. “It’s so different to be able to do the things you really want to do again without pain. Two years ago, I couldn’t ride a bike. I couldn’t even do yard work. Now, I’m looking forward to it.”
Mark finished physical therapy in February. “I was really, really active in my forties. It’s hard on your ego to get used to living life a certain way, and then all of a sudden your body says you can’t,” said Mark. “But to be able to get that back, it’s amazing. I wanted to get back to normal and that happened.”