Patient Stories

Mark R. McMahon, MD

When Debbie stepped up to the final tee at Culpepper Country Club, the pressure was on. She and her partner were struggling to eke out a victory in the club’s member-guest tournament. “My partner's shot was in the bunker,” Debbie recalls. “I knew my shot would have to be really good to win.” It was better than good: it was a hole in one.

Debbie’s shot of a lifetime was all the more remarkable because just four months earlier she had undergone hip replacement surgery with OrthoVirginia surgeon Mark McMahon, MD. But this was no ordinary procedure. Debbie had opted for a cutting-edge technique called direct anterior total hip replacement. Dr. McMahon is one of only a handful of orthopaedic surgeons in the Washington area who perform this technically demanding procedure on a regular basis.

In this method, the surgeon reaches the hip joint from the front instead of the back or side. Muscles are split, rather than cut and reattached, which leaves those most important for hip function undisturbed. The anterior approach is far less traumatic for patients, with a very small incision, so pain is minimized and the risk of dislocation reduced.

For Debbie, all of these factors added up to her decision to proceed. “I had a lot of anxiety about surgery and tried everything to make my hip pain go away,” says the retired Fairfax County Public School administrator. “But when Dr. McMahon suggested this method, I decided to bite the bullet and have it done.”

Following her procedure, Debbie was determined to return to her active lifestyle and the golf she loved. The 60-year-old spent several weeks in rehab building strength and range of motion before progressing to sports-oriented physical therapy. Within a few months she was playing nine holes. Soon she was back to her old game, winning eight member-guest tournaments in a row, including her dramatic hole-in-one victory at Culpepper. To help ensure an even more successful recovery, she has lost 38 pounds since her surgery.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better experience or outcome,” she says. “Dr McMahon made the whole thing doable for me. He was so positive and explained everything so well. I nicknamed him ‘Rockstar.’ My pain is gone. I’m back to where I was. The Rockstar did it!”