In Her Own Words

Hip Surgery Brings 'Immediate Relief'

Dr. Dammann was able to schedule Julie’s surgery at the best time for her, and she's very happy with the results - she made it to a family celebration with no problems! "What great results!"

Julie Wenzel was in a lot of pain. Her back and hip hurt, making it difficult to walk, and it was cramping her style. A busy woman, she had a long list of things to do: Tutoring at Blackhawk School, acting as treasurer for League of Women Voters, enjoying the Lindo Theatre Classic Movie Series with her husband, Alan, and attending her great-nephew's graduation party, to name a few top priorities. She knew she neededto do something, but what? She turned to FHN family practice physician Brian Bennett, MD, to help her decide on next steps.

After a detailed exam, Dr. Bennett referred Julie to Physical Therapy. The therapists agreed it could be sciatica, general back pain, or more likely, a hip injury causing her discomfort. She was referred to FHN Greg Dammann, MD, who suggested she try a series of steroid injections. They provided limited success, and when she wasn't dramatically better after three rounds, she went back to ask for additional advice. The doctor reviewed images of her left hip and recommended direct anterior surgery to battle arthritis and a cyst that were causing significant pain.

Deciding on Surgery

Julie was quick to agree that surgery was the way to go, but she didn't know when to do it. She and her husband were planning a beach vacation followed by a family graduation party in Iowa that she was determined to attend. Could Dr. Dammann do the surgery after her vacation but before the party? With just a short gap in between, her hip replacement surgery was scheduled.

Dr. Dammann planned to employ FHN's special Hana® table, which gives our orthopaedic surgeons better access during surgery and hastens recovery time. This approach makes it possible to avoid cutting muscles and reattaching them, reducing the risk of dislocation after surgery. It also means fewer restrictions on movement, less post-surgical pain, and a quicker recovery, which suited Julie's busy life just fine. Dr. Dammann assured his patient that she should be able to attend the graduation with minor limitations, such as getting a handicapped- accessible hotel room.

By the time she returned from her beach vacation, Julie was downright eager to "get the show on the road." She shares, "My hip made walking on the beach impossible. Riding in the car was difficult and it even hurt to swim certain strokes, something I do all the time at my home pool. The limited mobility was not just painful, it was discouraging. I was ready."

Preparing for the Procedure

To prepare for surgery, Julie attended a pre-operative class at FHN, met with a nurse navigator, and reviewed a detailed guidebook for reference. She found it helpful. "The whole educational experience was five-star," she asserts, "and having the nurse navigators, Keri and Hannah, available for me to call was a great asset. I was impressed with the team."

On the day of surgery, Julie met with Dr. Dammann and couldn't help but think about him as the young man who grew up in the same Lena cul-de-sac where she was raised. "His dad and my stepdad played golf together, and here he was about to operate on me. Life is interesting!"

The surgery was a success. Although many patients go home the next day, Dr. Bennett suggested an extra day for Julie, since she has a strong reaction to anesthesia and felt nauseated and dizzy post-procedure. By day two, she felt much better and remembers being vocal with her verdict: "I feel immediate relief! What great results!" she exclaimed. "Dr. Dammann and his team did a great job - they even discovered that my left leg was shorter than the other and made adjustments to repair my gait. I am so happy with my care. Both Dr. Dammann and Dr. Bennett are great assets to the community."

Focusing on Physical Therapy for a Speedy Recovery

Julie's physical therapy started at FHN Memorial Hospital and continued at FHN Burchard Hills in Freeport, as well as in her home pool where she often walks more than an hour each day. She says, "I had excellent attention on 3N and appreciate the nurses and therapists who took such good care of me. Lindsay in physical therapy was especially wonderful, as were Eric and Whitney. I worked hard and made it to my great-nephew's grad party without any problems. I value everybody who used their training and expertise to stop my pain and help me start living life to the fullest again!"