D. Andrew Parker, MD
Competing in an Ironman® triathlon is a pipe dream for most of us. For Laurie, it’s all in a day’s work. The 40-year-old USA Triathlon Certified Coach and mother of two is the founder of Amaiza Fitness. Amaiza Fitness’ tri4women program trains women to compete in triathlons and other endurance events. She is also a competitive triathlete and runner herself. But when nagging hip pain spread to her back and leg, Laurie was forced to hang up her wetsuit, bike and running shoes, and watch her beloved triathlon races from the sidelines.
“The situation was really frustrating, and I spent a year trying all sorts of non-operative remedies to get rid of the pain,” she says. “I saw lots of doctors, had lots of tests, went to a chiropractor, tried massage, but nothing really worked.” Finally, an MRI with contrast showed the bone needed to be shaved down. A friend recommended she consult Andrew Parker, MD, a OrthoVirginia surgeon with special interest and experience in hip arthroscopy.
Dr. Parker offered Laurie two choices. She could have a relatively simple procedure to clean up the cartilage in her hip, or more complex surgery to also shave the bone. The latter would require a longer recovery before she could return to running and competing, but the results would be permanent. Laurie didn’t hesitate. “I told him, ‘Get me in ASAP so I can get on with my life,’” she says.
Dr. Parker performed minimally invasive arthroscopic hip surgery at OrthoVirginia’s Outpatient Surgery Center in Herndon. The procedure, which involves a tiny incision, allows surgeons to repair and restore the normal anatomy of the hip joint with less damage to the surrounding muscle.
One of the biggest benefits of hip arthroplasty is faster recovery time. Most patients can begin light activities such as biking or swimming within a few weeks. Laurie was home one hour after waking up from her surgery. She had minimal pain, and was able to walk with a crutch. A few days later she was swimming, and soon she returned to a stationary bike to stay in shape. Four months after her surgery, she was running again.
“I had such great results and Dr. Parker was awesome,” she says. “He’s one of the leading physicians doing this procedure in the area and he’s done it lots of times, so I felt very confident about everything. He was available whenever I needed to talk, and he always encouraged me to make my own decisions. He’d say, ‘If you were my sister, this is what I’d recommend,’ but he never made the choice for me.”
Laurie also praised OrthoVirginia’s Outpatient Surgery Center, which she found more comfortable and personable than a hospital. She was in and out fast, without a lot of waiting time, and felt at ease with the attentive, one-on-one care from the staff.
Her hip pain is gone and her range of motion is back in full. Just eight months after her surgery, she will compete in the 2011 Rohto Ironman 70.3 California – a race that consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run. She will follow that up with a full Ironman – a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run – in Lake Placid, NY. “My recovery from surgery was amazingly quick and I was back to normal very fast,” she says. “People shouldn’t hesitate to have this done.”