Patient Stories

Mark Atkinson

Anterior hip replacement times two

“My biggest complaint is that I would have liked to stay in the hospital for three nights instead of one – it was such a great experience,” says Mark Atkinson, jokingly of his recent total hip replacements at Los Robles Health System’s Thousand Oaks Surgical Hospital (TOSH). The 60-year-old Camarillo resident put off his bilateral hip replacements for two years until he gave in to the hip pain and underwent robotic assisted hip replacements.

“I went in right before COVID-19 shut down the community on March 12 for my first hip and went home the next day,” says Atkinson. He felt immediate relief right after surgery. His second hip replacement was performed a few months later in the throes of the COVID pandemic. “My experience the second time was just as exceptional as the first – the meticulous care was spot on. The COVID test hurt more than the surgery,” he says with a laugh. The main difference was that there were not as many people at TOSH, an isolated surgical center away from any Emergency Room or COVID patients.

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Harpreet Bawa, performed the procedure. “Mark was a great candidate for an anterior hip replacement. The anterior approach offers a smaller incision, minimal soft tissue injury, reduced post-operative pain and earlier mobilization,” says Dr. Bawa. “Most importantly, he doesn’t have to worry about any dislocation precautions going forward.” Patients who undergo a standard posterior approach hip replacement are forbidden from certain activities and placing their legs in certain positions to prevent dislocation. The beauty of anterior approach hip replacements is that patients do not need any precautions. They can return to yoga, golf, Pilates, or whatever activity that they please postoperatively.

Atkinson says that when he couldn’t do the things he loved – especially golf – he decided it was time to take the plunge and get his hips replaced. The business development executive works from home and says that other than the day of and day after surgery, he took no time off from work. “It all went as planned both before COVID ‘hit’ and during. It was really comforting to know that the surgical hospital sees only elective procedures.” TOSH has no emergency room, but offers a very unique patient experience in an environment designed to promote healing. All patient rooms are private, complete with amenities found in fine hotels, within-room accommodations and meals prepared by and executive chef. Patients often say that they’d like to visit again for dinner!

The Los Robles multi-disciplinary joint care team is comprised of board certified orthopedist, orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, nurses, physical therapists and joint specialists who provide a full range of treatment options for each patients’ individual needs. “I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” says Atkinson. “From the therapists, to my doctors and to the nurses who took care of me – both surgeries went smoothly – with no issues or concerns. I’m playing golf next week, and I can’t wait.”

Barbara and Ed Schriber

Dynamic duo back in action after multiple joint replacements

Barbara and Ed Schriber are very active retirees. Barbara, 67, is an avid pickle ball player and long-distance marathon walker. Her husband Ed, 78, is a former college football player and pickle ball enthusiast as well. Between the two of them, this dynamic duo have six joint replacements between them! In 2018, Barbara had emergency hip replacement surgery on her left hip. It was her first joint replacement. “I thought it was my back, but the MRI showed that it was my hip,” says Barbara. “There was a fracture in my ball joint.” Barbara was in the ER on Tuesday and had the surgery at Thousand Oaks Surgical Hospital on Friday. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” says Barbara who now lives in Arizona. “Los Robles along with Dr. Bawa is the only place I’ll come for my joint care.”

Fast-forward to March 2020 – Barbara was playing pickle ball and blew out her left knee. Without hesitation, she scheduled her knee replacement at Los Robles Health System in June. “This time, Dr. Bawa used the Robot and I was walking without aid within three days – and had no pain within four days,” says Barbara.

“She was able to see the benefits of a robotic-assisted knee replacement combined with the rapid recovery protocols I have in place,” says Dr. Bawa. “Because she was so active, my goal was to get her back in the game as quickly as possible.”

“I look at it as teamwork. Excellent surgeon, excellent nurses and excellent physical therapists,” says Barbara. “And if I don’t do the work afterwards then I won’t have a successful result.” About a month after Barbara’s surgery, her husband Ed decided it was time to take care of his right hip. For Ed, it was his 4th joint replacement – a shoulder in 2008, his left hip in 2012, and his right knee in 2015. Ed was nearing bionic status.

“I had always been active,” says Ed a retired pilot. “Like a lot of people who need elective joint surgery, it’s easy to put it off. But I want to remain active as long as I can, and I had full confidence in the care I would receive from the team at Los Robles.” Ed says he put the hip surgery off for a year but decided to time his surgery one month after his wife’s so that she would have the time she needed to recover. This was Ed’s fourth joint procedure, but it was his first robotic assisted joint surgery. “This time the recovery just seems faster,” he says. “After three days, I was walking with no pain. Even the surgical incision didn’t hurt.”

“He had severe osteoarthritis in both hips and had the unique experience of comparing a robotic assisted procedure with a non-robotic assisted procedure. He could see firsthand better than anyone the benefits of the robot,” says Dr. Bawa. “The most gratifying aspect of my job is seeing the patients after surgery being able to return to activity and things they could not do before due to their arthritis.”

Barbara and Ed are fortunate to be able to recover at a relative’s home in Thousand Oaks and look forward to getting back on the pickle ball court before the end of the year. “Even if we didn’t have family here in Thousand Oaks, we’d still choose to have our joint replacements at the Thousand Oaks Surgical Hospital of Los Robles” says Barbara. “It’s a Four Seasons experience with an exceptionally caring staff and expert care.”

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