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Jayne Withers was never a fan of surgery, always preferring a more natural approach to health and healing. But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, she knew she had no other option. She underwent a lumpectomy, hoping that her first experience with surgery would also be her last. Her hip, however, had other plans.
In 2019, Jayne began noticing some discomfort in her left leg. Citing her “high tolerance for pain,” the lifelong runner nevertheless continued the physical activities that she loved.
Until 2021, that is.
“Over time, my pain got progressively worse,” says the Washington, D.C., resident. “When I realized I could no longer do something as simple as putting on my socks or shoes without hurting, I knew I couldn’t put off getting help any longer.”
Jayne went to her internist, Varun Sharma, MD, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital for advice. As she feared, he immediately referred her to the hospital’s highly regarded orthopaedics department for further evaluation. Jayne reluctantly made an appointment, dreading the results.
However, after talking to Kevin Park, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee replacements at MedStar Georgetown, her worst fears were put to rest.
“Dr. Park was so reassuring and kind,” Jayne says. “I was immediately impressed by his obvious knowledge. But even after he told me I had no cushioning left between my bones, I was still really hesitant about having hip replacement. And, he didn’t try to talk me into anything, which I really appreciated. I hate being pressured!”
Instead, Dr. Park listened to Jayne’s concerns, and explained what non-surgical options were available to her and what she could reasonably expect from each option. He then suggested that Jayne take her time to think about what she wanted to do and get back to him when she was ready.
Armed with her choices, Jayne decided to try physical therapy first. But, her pain continued to get worse. Three months later, she called Dr. Park back and said she was ready for surgery.
“Conservative approaches like anti-inflammatories, injections, and physical therapy can help relieve symptoms and, possibly, postpone further deterioration,” Dr. Park says. “But once the cartilage is gone, you can’t get it back. Replacement is the only way to get to the root of the problem and fix it.”
In November 2021, Dr. Park operated on Jayne using a newer, muscle- sparing procedure called the direct superior approach. The procedure approaches the hip from a higher (superior) angle than the other two more commonly performed surgeries. It is a minimally invasive procedure that preserves the IT band—a thick band of tissue that supports both hip function and stability—thereby allowing for faster recovery.
While still in the recovery room, Jayne was soon up and walking. After an overnight stay at MedStar Georgetown, she returned home and started physical therapy to regain strength and motion in her leg.
Three months later, Jayne was pain-free and walking without any aids. She has become a proponent of Dr. Park and the surgery she had tried so hard to avoid.
“To anyone who has bad hip pain and is worried about surgery, I’d say, ‘Just do it,’” says a grateful Jayne.” My quality of life is so much better than it was before the surgery. Thanks to Dr. Park and MedStar Georgetown, I feel fantastic!”
So does Dr. Park. “I just love getting people back to their active lives and feeling good once again.”