You probably know Kae Hentges. She is on Newschannel 11 at Five every Tuesday. A Health Education Specialist, Kae has been a medical consultant to us for years. However, she is off the air now for a few weeks, recovering from hip replacement surgery. Being an educator, though, she invited us to follow her through surgery so that others could learn from her prescription.
Let's go back and look at why Kae, like so many others, needed this surgery. The Kae Hentges you don't see, behind the scenes, has been in pain for some time, carrying a cane with her because of osteoarthritis in her hip. On Newschannel 11 at Five last week, she talked about her upcoming surgery. She said, "As our population ages, more and more of us will be going through it."
Dr. Mark Scioli, an Orthopaedic Surgeon says, "You use a cane, walk with a crutch, whatever you can, then when the game is over, you know it." "It"... is total hip replacement, the next step for Kae. Kae allowed NewsChannel 11 to join her and husband in that doctor visit before her surgery at Covenant Lakeside. David Hentges asked Dr. Scioli how long it would be after the surgery before Kae could walk again, and was surprised to hear that she would be encouraged to walk with some assistance the next day.
We also joined Kae in her education classes to prepare her for surgery. A physical therapist warned her that she would not be able to bend to put on her pants, etc., so she would be using a claw-like gadget to reach and grab for her.
It was perhaps a car accident 30 years ago that set the stage for arthritis in Kae's hip. The pain had become so great that she and her husband, David, were forced to give up their favorite hobby -- traveling to Rome, Canada, and through the Holy Lands.
This journey would be two hours in surgery, but Kae rolled in with a smile, and a wave to all of us in her TV classroom. The risk of infection with a total hip replacement is a huge concern because very little blood goes into a joint, so few antibodies get to the joint, so if there is an infection, it is extremely difficult to treat. So, in this kind of surgery, I had to wear two hats.
In total hip replacement surgery, doctors first remove the femoral head, which means cutting the ball away from the socket. The ball should be round, slick, and white, but Kae's is severely deformed, eaten up by arthritis. Dr. Scioli then drills into the ball to pull out some good bone from the inside. An instrument that looks like a cheese grater is also used to round out the socket to prepare for the artificial pieces. That's when Dr. Scioli uses the bone chips he saved from inside the ball to pack the rounded out socket to make it stronger. "Just like putting putty in a hole in the wall," he says.
A metal shell and plastic liner are then inserted in the socket. "The stem is wedged into the thigh bone, impacting it much like one puts a cork back into a wine bottle," explains Dr. Scioli. He says the the bone just grabs it and slowly grows into the roughened surface of the area. Finally, the ball is slipped onto the stem, and together, the new ball and socket move again, smoothly and with no pain.
Within 24 hours of the surgery, Kae is back on her feet again. It is initially painful, and she's gained five pounds with all that hardware inside of her. However, Kae is on her way back to her old life, with new freedom. "I can't wait to start travelling again," she says.