Because of my orthopaedic care, I can live my life to the fullest…It is night and day for me.
Throughout her pregnancy, Susan had endured terrible hip pain that was dismissed by her prenatal care providers. Whether an impending stress fracture coincidentally caused her fall, or the trip caused the break upon impact is unknown; but Susan was rendered motionless at the foot of the stairs. Her son Zach, age 4, called 9-1-1 and was able to guide rescuers to the house.
Susan was taken to Memorial Community Hospital in Blair, and later a hospital in Omaha, because the now distressed baby was in a hurry to send her into labor. Doctors calmed the baby in utero and an orthopaedic surgeon pinned her femoral neck fracture – placing several screws across the bone. She delivered Drew by caesarian section two weeks later, and spent a time caring for her three young boys from a wheelchair.
Six trying months passed and Susan returned to her orthopaedic surgeon complaining of pain. Her discomfort and concern were again rebuffed, and it was suggested that she return in a year to have her hip replaced.
Susan was frustrated, hurting and in need of another opinion. A friend referred her to Dr. Kevin Garvin at UNMC in December 1994.
Dr. Garvin reviewed her x-rays and identified a nonunion where the femoral neck had failed to heal. Susan was also suffering from avascular necrosis in the ball of her hip (a lack of blood supply to the bone tissue that ultimately causes collapse and arthritis). Knowing that she would ultimately need a total hip arthroplasty and that many doctors would choose to perform one immediately, Dr. Garvin also knew that available prosthetic materials weren’t ideal, and believed he could optimize her functionality by helping her keep her own parts as long as possible. On January 11, 1995, he performed a femoral osteotomy to help the nonunion heal and a revascularization procedure for her avascular hip bone with intent to postpone total hip replacement and improve her current function.
The surgery was successful and Susan maintained an active lifestyle for nearly 10 years, but when walking up a flight of stairs felt daunting, she knew it was time to return to Dr. Garvin.
On February 6, 2004, Dr. Garvin replaced her hip using a newly developed highly crosslinked polyethylene implant. At the time, Dr. Garvin had three material options for the hip replacement, including metal-on-metal, ceramic-on-ceramic and highly crosslinked polyethylene– a biomaterial introduced in 1999. He felt that the latter was the best fit for Susan’s youth and activity.
Eight years later, she has no pain and is as busy as ever – horseback riding, managing her equine therapy business, bike riding and swimming. Due to her trust in Dr. Garvin, Susan brought her son Josh, now a student and cross-country runner at Kansas University, in for an evaluation of his femoral stress fractures, to ensure that her family receives the best care possible.
“My husband is an athlete. My kids are athletes. That’s our world,” Susan said. “I wouldn’t have been able to participate in their world the way I do now if it weren’t for Dr. Kevin Garvin.”