As an American healthcare worker employed in the Middle East, Lonnie Fuller realized there were certain limitations to his medical options while overseas. This reality became especially apparent once Lonnie started to experience hip pain after exercise. “I came out of the gym and had a pain in my hip to the point where I started to limp. It had happened before but this time the pain never went away. After three months or so, I finally went in for an Orthopaedic consult,” he says. “The Orthopaedic surgeon told me that I should warm up to the idea of having a total hip replacement pretty soon. It floored me because I’m young…I thought hip replacements only happened to old people.”
Determined that a total hip replacement couldn’t be his only option, Lonnie began to investigate alternative treatments. He discovered a procedure called “hip resurfacing”, a surgical alternative to hip replacement that’s generally designed for younger patients. The procedure replaces only the articulating surfaces of a patient's hip joint, while removing little bone. Lonnie was intrigued.
Hip resurfacing can offer many advantages over a total hip replacement, although it is a complicated surgical procedure. Therefore, a surgeon's level of experience is extremely important and the selection of the right surgeon is crucial for a successful outcome. “But I live in the Middle East and there’s no one around here that even does the procedure,” says Lonnie. “So I decided to research hip resurfacing experts in the United States. I uncovered Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, which, of course, has an outstanding reputation. That’s when I noticed the MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program, which seemed like a great way to connect with an authority on the subject.”
The MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion program is a sophisticated, Web-based extension of Cleveland Clinic’s 90-plus-year role as one of America’s most respected referral institutions. The secure, online program provides medical second opinions from Cleveland Clinic specialists for more than 1,200 life-threatening and life-changing diagnoses.
So right before Christmas, Lonnie registered online for a MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion and sent his medical records to Cleveland Clinic. Within about a week, Peter Brooks, MD, a staff physician in the department of Orthopaedic Surgery who specializes in hip resurfacing, provided Lonnie with a thorough MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion. “I was extremely impressed with how quickly Dr. Brooks responded, especially as it was right around Christmas,” says Lonnie. “He explained hip resurfacing to me in great detail, where I fit in terms of having the procedure and provided statistics for outcomes and complication rates, the latter being impressively low.”
Based on his MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion, Lonnie decided to proceed with a hip resurfacing. So in early 2014, he and his wife travelled back to the U.S. where Lonnie underwent surgery. “It’s been about six weeks since my procedure and I feel great…no pain or anything,” says Lonnie. “Both Dr. Brooks and the physician who performed my surgery said that within a year I can get back to what I used to do at the gym, if not more.”
Lonnie says he’s already recommended Cleveland Clinic’s MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion to friends and colleagues. “At first, I had all of these questions about hip resurfacing and was in the dark as far as what to do. But after connecting with an Orthopaedic expert like Dr. Brooks who has done thousands of these surgeries, I understood hip resurfacing considerably well and it made good sense to undergo the procedure,” he concludes. “I’m a firm believer that there is no substitute for that level of experience.”