Steamboat hips don't lie

New procedure at YVMC allows hip resurfacing

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Dr. Greg Sarin, an orthopaedic surgeon with Steamboat Orthopaedic Associates, P.C., displays an x-ray of a recent hip surgery patient in the Medical Building at Yampa Valley Medical Center on Tuesday.

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Jay Petersen, a recent hip resurfacing patient at Yampa Valley Medical Center, speaks with a reporter at Gondola Joe's Coffee Shop at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area on Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

— Jay Petersen was willing to give up running to stop the pain.

Last summer, Petersen had a conservative total hip replacement, or hip resurfacing, procedure performed at Yampa Valley Medical Center. It was the first such surgery performed at YVMC since the procedure recently became approved in the United States.

Traditionally, Steamboat residents have had to drive to Vail or Denver - or even to a specialist in South Carolina - to have the procedure done.

Not anymore.

Dr. Greg Sarin, Dr. Bryan Bomberg and Dr. Eric Verploeg have performed the surgery, which Petersen and Matt Gantick, Steamboat residents, said they would recommend to any candidate.

"Everything was wonderful," Petersen, 51, said.

For Petersen, an avid runner and basketball player when he was young, the pain in his hip began shortly after he ran the Steamboat Half Marathon two years ago. The pain lasted all summer and through the winter. An X-ray revealed his left hip was osteoarthritic, but he didn't want to deal with surgery and rehab during the summer, so he opted to wait until fall.

His hip had other plans.

"I couldn't wait until fall," Petersen said. "Around July, I got it done. Everything hurt. I was cranky all the time."

Petersen opted for hip resurfacing when he found out Sarin could perform the procedure. Sarin participated in at least 30 hip resurfacing surgeries while at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. The doctor Sarin worked under was one of the few performing trial surgeries while in Baltimore.

The surgery went well, and although Petersen has given up running, he is back to his normal life, albeit a pain-free one.

"If you are a candidate for this, I would recommend it in a heartbeat," he said.

A conservative total hip replacement is different than the standard hip replacement because the conservative total hip replacement, or hip resurfacing, preserves more of the natural bone, but it isn't for everyone suffering from hip problems.

"If you catch a hip problem or hip arthritis soon enough, then you can get it done before your hip degenerates too far," Sarin said. "People are starting to come out of the woodwork for this surgery. We are doing more and more of them."

Gantick had his conservative total hip replacement procedure done Jan. 30, nearly 4 1/2 years after learning he needed to repair his hip. Gantick was hesitant because he skis, coaches football and drives two active sons around town.

Verploeg performed the surgery, and Gantick is thankful he is pain free.

"It's amazing," Gantick said. "I went in for surgery, came out of it and a couple hours later they said, 'you are going to get up,' and I was like, 'what?'

"I held on to a walker. I put some weight on my hip and instantly there was no pain. There has been no pain in my hip joint. It's going incredibly well."

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