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Hip Replacement Option Gets Patient Moving Quickly


Paul George of Camden, Del., sat patiently in a waiting room just a few months ago. He suffered from constant pain in his groin. As he thumbed through brochures on the anterior hip approach, George knew relief was in reach.

“In the brochures were letters of self-reflection,” said George. People told “had I known stories.” The article that caught his eye was Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski’s, coach of Duke University's Men's Basketball team. “Every symptom he went through was identical to mine.”

In August of 2013, George woke up with a surprising pain in his left groin. With every new day, George’s discomfort grew. He had to use a walker or wheelchair on the days he volunteered at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover Air Force Base.

A friend who lives out of state told George about the anterior hip procedure that a local surgeon offered. Traveling out of town for surgery was out of the question for George. That’s when he began searching for an orthopaedic surgeon close to home.

He found Trinity Pilkington, MD, of Bayhealth Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Pilkington is the only orthopaedic surgeon in central and southern Delaware specialty trained to perform the anterior hip replacement surgery.

Dr. Pilkington showed George an X-ray and MRI of his right and left hip. “My right hip looked normal and had cartilage,” said George. “But everything was gone on my left hip.”

The hip bones are covered with a layer of slick cartilage. The cartilage cushions and protects the bones and allows for smooth movement. George was promptly scheduled to have an anterior hip replacement.

Anterior hip replacement calls for a small incision at the front of the hip instead of through the side of the hip or the buttocks. The surgeon is able to reach the hip socket without cutting through major muscle groups. It’s less painful with fewer complications than the standard hip replacement surgery.

To best prepare for surgery, George attended the pre-operative Total Joint Class. The two-hour course is coordinated by the nurse navigator and taught by a unit nurse for the Center for Orthopaedics at Bayhealth Kent General. Patients learn what to expect before and after their surgeries.

George went into surgery at 7:30 a.m. By noon, Dr. Pilkington was in George’s recovery room. “He [Dr. Pilkington] was the first to get me out of bed,” said George. The following day, George was walking up and down stairs under the watchful eye of physical therapists.

Just 16 days after his surgery, the 78-year-old says he’s quickly recovering and he’s “smiling from ear to ear over how well everything went.” He has already returned to his volunteer job at the museum. “People can’t believe how fast I have recovered.”

Dr. Pilkington also specializes in various hand and upper extremity conditions, sports medicine, knee and shoulder syndromes, and foot and ankle disorders.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Pilkington at either his Dover or Milford offices, please call 302-730-4366. Dr. Pilkington operates at both Kent General and Milford Memorial campuses.

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