Direct Anterior Hip Replacement: Wendy’s Story

November 25, 2020

Two years ago, Wendy was at an appointment with her sports medicine doctor and mentioned that she had been having difficulty getting in and out of her car. Between yoga, tennis, skiing, hiking, and golf, she thought maybe she had pulled a muscle during one of her favourite activities.

“He took an X-ray of my hip and showed me the damage. I was shocked,” she remembers. “It took the wind out of my sails to learn that I would probably need a hip replacement.”

Wendy was referred to Dr. Sebastian Rodriguez-Elizalde, an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Humber River Hospital who was the first to offer the Direct Anterior Approach (DAA) for hip replacement in the GTA.

Wendy doing a tree pose in front of a tree

“I have my yoga practice back, I’m moving again, and I can lift my grandchildren,” says Wendy. “I’m happier because I’m not in pain and I can fully participate in life again.”

His approach spares tissue and requires less surgical dissection, meaning less trauma and faster recovery time for his patients. Many of his patients are even able to leave the Hospital the same day as their surgery.

Wendy met Dr. Rodriguez-Elizalde in January 2019, and he told her that she would probably need surgery within the year.

By August, Wendy could no longer do yoga, which she had been teaching for 47 years. She couldn’t play tennis – in fact, she couldn’t even walk for more than a few minutes without limping. Her surgery was scheduled and she was nervous, but more than anything she looked forward to getting her life back.

“My surgery was a very positive experience,” says Wendy. “Dr. Rodriguez-Elizalde was so kind and understanding. And he is an exceptional surgeon.”

Wendy’s operation was at noon, and only a few hours later she was learning to climb stairs. At 6:30pm that evening, she left the Hospital using a walker.

“I knew immediately that I felt better,” remembers Wendy. “Dr. Rodriguez-Elizalde called me the next morning to check on me, and twice more over the next few days.”

In just a few weeks, Wendy graduated from using her walker walking around the block, to canes, to walking sticks, to walking without assistance.

“My recuperation was really fast,” says Wendy. “I have my yoga practice back, I’m moving again, and I can lift my grandchildren. I’m happier because I’m not in pain and I can fully participate in life again.”

Wendy celebrated the one-year anniversary of her surgery by making a Gift of Gratitude donation in honour of Dr. Rodriguez-Elizalde, and Dr. Martin Heller who had originally referred her to him.

“I’m very, very grateful for the doctors and team at Humber River Hospital,” says Wendy. “They deserve to be recognized and this was my way of giving back on the anniversary of my surgery.”