Getting Back to What Matters Most: One Patient’s Hip Replacement Story

By: Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center
Date: Jul 26, 2023

You know that feeling of walking on rocky asphalt without shoes? Sort of a sharp, crunchy sensation? That’s exactly how Nicole described the pain she was feeling, except this pain was deep in her left hip, and it was preventing her from doing even routine daily tasks. Loading the dishwasher, carrying a basket of laundry up the stairs, even getting into her car—they all forced her to bend or twist in odd ways just to try and avoid the pain. Worst of all, though, were the things she was unable to do with her two children.

Although just 41, Nicole needed a hip replacement due to a congenital problem that had resulted in very early end-stage arthritis, which meant her hip and pelvic socket were grinding bone-on-bone.

“It was hard to push the kids in the stroller,” says Nicole, an Alpharetta resident and mother of an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. “I was having issues even sitting on the floor with them with my legs crossed.”

Given that she had two small children, worked as a nurse and was married to a husband who traveled for work, Nicole wanted a facility that would help her get back on her feet quickly. As a post-op nurse at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, she knew just where to go: Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital.

“In the Emory Healthcare system, they are the mecca,” says Nicole. “All they do is orthopedics. They see every scenario that would have to do with a hip surgery or a knee surgery or any type of orthopedic surgery.”

Nicole’s age made a positive outcome even more critical, says her surgeon at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

Nicole’s care team knew that being incapacitated at her age would be devastating. As a mother who works as a nurse and has most of her life ahead of her, she needed to be able to care for others and do her job. Her doctor remarked, “She had a choice and came to Emory, not just because of the facility, but because of what we’re doing here. She’s trusting her livelihood and mobility to us and knows our outcomes are going to be better.”

A Focus on Orthopedics

From the nurses to the surgeons and everyone in between, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital specializes solely in illnesses or injuries of the bones, muscles, tendons and related nerves.

The nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, surgical technicians, social workers, anesthesia—everyone on the care team – is dedicated to specialized orthopedic care, primarily focusing on total joints and spine. Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital is the only hospital in the region that can offer that specialization and expertise with proven better patient outcomes than general hospitals. So patients like Nicole can get their treatment done right—the first time.

Specialized orthopedic and musculoskeletal care means lower rates of complications, minimal reliance on pain medication, and modern surgical techniques like the less invasive procedure performed on Nicole, whose hip was replaced via an anterior route that involved going in between her muscles rather than the more disruptive posterior route through the gluteus maximus. For Nicole, that meant being able to go home the same day as her surgery, something about half of Emory hip replacement patients are able to do.

Enjoying ‘A Normal Life’

Nicole underwent surgery in January and followed the procedure with three weeks of physical therapy, gradually regaining her range of motion and the ability to be active once again. Now she can go out for a walk and take aerobics or Pilates classes. Most importantly, she can envision a vigorous life with her husband and two children.

“Just thinking ahead with the kids, I’ve never really been able to go ice skating with them during the holidays,” she says. “Or now that they’re older, if we go on a family trip and we go zip lining or whatever, I can do that. Horseback riding, things like that. Simple, fun activities that before I wasn’t really able to do, and now I can.”

And that rocky road feeling in her left hip? Long gone, thanks to the dedicated professionals at Emory’s dedicated orthopedics facility.

“One of the toughest things a parent can say is that their children want to interact with them, be active with them, and they can’t do that,” her doctor said. “Now, Nicole is able to do the things she couldn’t really do before, like just walking without pain, performing her job as a nurse, getting back to helping other people. And now she is back to normal.”

“Now, Nicole is able to do the things she couldn’t really do before, like just walking without pain, performing her job as a nurse, getting back to helping other people. And now she is back to normal.”

About Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center has among the highest patient satisfaction and best outcome rates in the nation* for your surgery. By using advanced research techniques developed by our top surgeons, we can make sure your surgery is done right the first time.

Schedule your appointment today.

*Results based on an average of 86% patient satisfaction rating compared to a national benchmark of similar facilities at 68%. Infection rates averages at .45% for primary hip and knee procedures compared to .58% nationally.

Related Posts

  • Mother and daughter playing in a field
    Hip pain shouldn’t keep you from enjoying life. Read how one woman become pain-free after a hip replacement at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.
  • Hip Pain
    Hip pain can severely affect your lifestyle. Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center provides you with information on symptoms of hip pain and treatment options.
  • Middle age man reading in a kitchen
    For people of all ages, regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy. It can slow the aging process, lengthen your life and improve brain health.

Emory Health Source Newsletter

For more stories and health and wellness tips, sign up for our monthly newsletter.


Sign Up

Recent Posts