Katy’s transformative simultaneous bilateral anterior hip replacement

“As a young girl I knew I was going to need both my hips replaced at some point in my life. I was born with a genetic dysplasia and had watched both my maternal grandmother and mother have their hips replaced by the time they were in their mid 40s. I went through life not fully able to participate in life as moving, walking, running- so much was painful and my hip flexibility was extremely limited. But this was all “normal” to me. I had seen my mom and grandmother move stiffly throughout their lives and the tightness and limitations I felt in my body were just again “normal.”

I am forever grateful for Dr. Mast and his team and I think of them often. They became like a family to me, every step of the way and they were rooting and cheering me on. They knew before I did how much the quality of life was going to drastically improve and I am so glad I trusted them.

I would, however, watch and envy my friends, my sisters, and how they moved their bodies with ease, played sports, or even how they just simply got up and down off the floor. I wanted to feel differently in my body and more like a kid and less like an old, stiff, skeleton. I remember being in high school, struggling to stand up from my desks as my hips would regularly snag while rotating and I wouldn’t be able to move down the halls to my next class. I had a friend that I would lean on while I awkwardly limped to my next class. I learned how to manage, a lot of tricks, I did a lot of hot yoga as a young adult to try and stay as limber as possible but nothing ever really helped long term. I sat out of many activities, embarrassed and angry and the times I was bound and determined to keep up with my friends I would pay for later in pain. 

Fast forward and my hips managed to carry and birth two full term baby boys but after I delivered my second baby, I noticed one leg was shorter than the other by an inch. I kept hoping no longer being pregnant would resolve the over rotation of my pelvis and hip alignment, but it did not. After my second was born my body was in its most debilitating form and the pain was excruciating. Yet here I was with a newborn and a toddler and I had no choice but to move my body to take care of them. I remember feeling so worried about how I was going to keep up with them. Surely this is not the life I am meant to live. I could no longer comfortably push a stroller or wear a baby carrier. Going up and down the stairs to grab one more thing was unbearably painful but I did it, every day, multiple times a day and carried my youngest around on my hips until he could walk. Bending over to put my kid’s shoes on was so painful, sitting on the floor to play was impossible. I was only 34. I looked at my husband and said I think I need to get my hips looked at.

I met with a few orthopedic surgeons and I knew right away Dr. Mast was the surgeon I wanted to work with. He looked at my X-rays and told me my hip structure was that of an 80 year an old with significant arthritis. And for once I felt seen. Yes, yes, I have always felt like I had the body of an aged person with the mind of a young woman. Dr. Mast told me he would perform the surgery that day if he could because he believed there was no reason to delay drastically improving my life. I told him to give me nine more months so my newborn could grow and wean from nursing and then…. It’s a go. And then September 24, 2019 rolled around and I handed my life over to Dr. Mast to perform the anterior approach for bilateral hip replacements. In some ways 9/24 is a new birthday for me because I was given a better body than I was born with and I am forever grateful for Dr. Mast and his team. 

I have since relocated to outside Boulder, CO where I have been participating in sports physical therapy weekly for two years and I absolutely love rebuilding my body. Being born with dysfunctional hips wreacked havoc on my entire body. Certain muscle groups did not develop or I overused certain parts of my body to compensate for not being able to use my hips. I have had to relearn a whole life time of how to carry my body. But that process has been amazing! I am now an avid weight lifter and am able to squat and dead lift 135lbs and each week that amount grows. I can ride bicycles with my boys and snow shoe and ski, I can even jog, jump, hop, skip and leap! I feel like a little kid, going back to the things, the movements, I didn’t get to explore as a young girl. Want to play soccer? I’m down. Want to throw a frisbee? Let’s do it. I used to not be able to throw a frisbee because my hips would get painfully stuck while trying to stand strong. So what sticks with me are all the little things I can do that have made a huge difference in my life. I can switch feet going up and down the stairs, I can have a dance party with my kids, I can swing my leg over my bike while getting off and on, I can stand up from sitting and walk without limping, I can sit on the floor cross-legged and play with my kids, I can play chase and run after my boys, I can carry my groceries in from the car, I can push in the clutch of my car without gritting my teeth, I can perform a 12-inch box jump!

I am forever grateful for Dr. Mast and his team and I think of them often. They became like a family to me, every step of the way and they were rooting and cheering me on. They knew before I did how much the quality of life was going to drastically improve and I am so glad I trusted them. I honestly did not have a choice to wait any longer to have my hips replaced. My body was screaming at me and I am glad I listened. Anyone who is questioning or nervous about getting a hip replacement, don’t spend any more of your life in pain or with limitations. There is so much life ahead of you. Thank you Dr. Mast!”

Nicholas Mast MD is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in conditions of the hip and pelvis.

Trained in pelvic and acetabular trauma and reconstruction by some of the best in the field, his treatments range from non-replacement options for the management of hip osteoarthritis to complex revision surgeries and hip preservation techniques including periacetabular osteotomy.

He is the most experienced surgeon in the region in the use of the anterior approach for hip replacement and regularly uses this minimally invasive, fast recovery anterior approach to treat a wide variety of hip conditions.