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Hip surgery: It's all kind of a miracle'

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
May 28, 2003
Robert Hughes is a busy 70-year-old man. Not the type of person who wants to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
He needs to be able to travel to watch his grandchildren play sports, get on his riding lawn mower to cut his hilly, 1-acre yard and operate his tiller so he can tend his four-row garden.
Now, a new surgery has enabled him to do these things again. He was at Meridian Orthopaedic Clinic Tuesday to talk about how it happened but he was a little distracted by the time.
Just months before, Hughes faced the possibility of being confined to a wheelchair because of an unstable hip.
But Hughes underwent a new type of hip replacement surgery about four months ago at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center with technology that had never been used in Meridian.
It was Hughes' second hip replacement surgery. The first was nearly 10 years ago. Late last year, though, Hughes had to take to a wheelchair when the pain in the replaced hip became unbearable.
During his recent surgery, Dr. James R. Green used a model of Hughes' pelvis made by Biomet engineers in Warsaw, Ind., to prepare for the surgery.
Green said the model allowed him to pinpoint the amount of bone loss and prescribe a custom implant to fix the problem.
Green said the new technology is not likely to be used much in the near future. The procedure was performed only 50 to 60 times nationwide last year.
Hughes' wife, Gloria, said she is glad the technology was available for her husband. She said with the "pretty weather" forecast for the rest of this week, she's looking forward to him being able to work in his yard again.