Hip Surgery Spares Patient Pain, Long Recovery

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2Staff Report

Persistent discomfort in his left hip plagued Todd Sheldon’s golf game. When the strain became unbearable, Sheldon turned to orthopaedic surgeon Trinity O. Pilkington, MD, with Bayhealth Orthopaedic Surgery. Sheldon underwent a muscle sparing anterior hip surgery at Bayhealth Kent General with tremendous success, walking unassisted just two hours after surgery. Sheldon, 53 of Magnolia, DE, had always been an active man who worked out regularly, ran a few miles per week and played golf as often as he could but the arthritis and accompanying discomfort in his left hip were affecting his quality of life.

“I wasn’t able to tie my shoes without feeling pain from the pressure of bone-on-bone,” said Sheldon. Even so, he worried that conventional hip replacement surgery would mean a long, painful recovery.

After a golf trip earlier this year, Sheldon was fed up with the pain. He considered traveling out of state to have a needed hip replacement until his physician suggested meeting Dr. Pilkington, an orthopaedic trauma surgeon specialty trained in muscle sparing hip procedures.

“I did my due diligence on [Dr. Pilkington’s] background and was impressed by his knowledge and experience,” said Sheldon. First impressions didn’t disappoint. “Dr. Pilkington was very thorough. He didn’t just talk to me, he listened to me.”

An athlete himself, Dr. Pilkington understood Sheldon’s desire to quickly return to an active lifestyle. The two determined that Sheldon would undergo an anterior hip replacement, a muscle sparing procedure that offers faster recovery, no restrictions and a shorter hospital stay. It’s a procedure that Dr. Pilkington has performed hundreds of times.

“Dr. Pilkington met me in recovery, just like he said he would,” commented Sheldon. “He got me out of bed just two hours after surgery and I was able to walk without a cane.”

The following day, Sheldon made 20 unassisted laps around the nurses’ station, the same day he was released from the hospital. Less than a week later, he was back to work at Barry Van Lines in Dover. Within a month’s time, he was back on the greens with his golf club in hand.

“Truly from beginning to end, the experience was wonderful,” commented Sheldon, who says the nurses in the Center for Orthopaedics at Kent General were more like friends than anything else. “The only regret I have is not having the procedure done sooner, but I’m happy I held out for Dr. Pilkington to join the Bayhealth Medical Group.”

Dr. Pilkington is fellowship trained in orthopaedic trauma and reconstructive surgery at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is one of the only surgeons in mid and southern Delaware to offer the muscle sparing anterior approach to the hip.