Glenn: Back in the Swing

Orthopedics and Joint Replacement at Mercy - Baltimore

Anyone who knows golf, knows that the power to drive a ball comes mainly from the hips.

Which is one reason Glenn D. was in anguish.  

Glenn, of Hunt Valley, MD, took up golf as a hobby later in life. But like many golfers, the sport quickly moved for him from pastime to passion. “I was hooked pretty quickly,” said Glenn. “I was on the golf course every chance I got.”

But while his game was willing, his hips were not. Due to a congenital disorder, Glenn, now 57, began having hip problems when he was in his early 50s, problems that eventually required him to have both hips replaced, six years apart. Both surgeries were performed at Mercy Medical Center.

“There were times I was in absolute agony,” said the account manager for a Baltimore-area medical and surgical supply firm. “My hips would lock-up and I couldn’t even step my toe to the ground. Plus there was tremendous groin pain. Anyone with hip problems will tell you that a lot of the pain radiates from your groin area. It’s terrible.”

So terrible that he finally agreed in 2007 to have his first hip replacement. Due to his congenital issues, Glenn was not new to treatment for joint issues. He’d already had two orthopedic surgeries performed, on his back and on one knee. But nothing quite like this; a procedure that on the surface looked as if it would keep him in the clubhouse and not on the greens for quite some time.

The First Hip Replacement

At that time, in 2007, Glenn had made-up his mind to have the first hip replacement performed at a Baltimore-area hospital other than Mercy Medical Center. But at the last minute he scratched that decision. “A client of mine recommended I look into Mercy and Dr. Joseph John Ciotola, an orthopedic surgeon there, and so I did and changed my mind at the last minute. I have zero regrets.”

A surgeon in Orthopedics and Joint Replacement at Mercy, Dr. Ciotola specializes in total joint replacement and general orthopedics. He is also one of an exclusive group of surgeons nationwide who offer anterior approach hip replacement surgery.

The anterior approach is an innovative, minimally-invasive approach that typically provides a faster recovery, less restrictions, and less pain compared to traditional surgery. Basically, an incision is made in the front of the hip rather than the side or back, as is done with traditional hip surgery. The anterior approach involves only a 4-5 inch incision, which allows for less disruption to muscles and tissues of the leg. Anterior hip replacement surgery is performed on a custom designed operating table called a Hana™ arthroplasty table, available at Mercy.

The hip replacement was a huge success, and just a few days after the surgery, Glenn was already up and walking with a cane and was back on the golf course in no time.

While the surgery itself went extremely well, Glenn was not as impressed with the facility. “This was prior to Mercy’s renovation and the opening of the new Bunting Center there,” he said. “I was impressed with the way the surgery went, but there were just some other things I thought could have been better.”

Hip Replacement – Round Two

Six years later, in 2013, Glenn’s right hip required replacement as well, and despite any misgivings he had, he went right back to Dr. Ciotola and to Mercy.

“There was never a question where I’d get the second hip replacement done,” he said.

Dr. Ciotola also performed the second hip surgery, and this time not only was Glenn thrilled with the surgical result, he was impressed with the entire experience. “Everything was good,” he said. “It’s always a challenge when they’re sawing bones, but the new hospital facilities are immaculate, and the nurses were off-the-chart great. Even the food was good. For the situation I was in, I felt had the best possible care.”

Returning to an Active Lifestyle

Glenn agreed to appear in a television commercial in 2007 touting Mercy as the place he’d had his hip replacement.  His line in in the ad:  “I was climbing up the stairs within a week, pain free.”

True. And for his second, and hopefully final, hip replacement, he said, he did even better. He was walking without a cane in six days, hitting golf balls after 17 days, back on the golf course in five weeks, and recorded a hole-in-one in six weeks. Not bad progress for a guy with congenital hip problems.

After these two surgeries, Glenn said he’s not even aware of his hips anymore and is driving the ball and himself with authority.

“My hips are an afterthought now,” he said. “It’s like I was born this way.”

Preferably, with a golf club in his hand.

Glenn's Treatment Team