Hip Resurfacing Procedure
Helps Patient Return to Ice Hockey

Tom Dolan (left) and his orthopedic
surgeon, Scott Rubinstein, M.D., face off
in a 90-minute scrimmage on the ice.

Tom Dolan, 54, had a couple of unusual goals in mind when he underwent hip surgery in 2007: Resume playing ice hockey within six months and skate with the person who could make it possible - his orthopedic surgeon.

In February 2008, Dolan's goals turned into reality.

Dolan of Crystal Lake and his surgeon, Scott Rubinstein, M.D., of Saint Joseph Hospital faced off in a 90-minute scrimmage. Dr. Rubinstein joined Dolan's hockey team, the Northwest Flyers, for a late-night practice. The team divided up and played a five-on-five scrimmage. Both men, passionate about hockey, have played the sport for nearly 40 years.

Affecting his Lifestyle

"Tom had osteoarthritis of the hip - with his pain and functioning growing worse," Dr. Rubinstein said. "It was affecting his lifestyle."

Dolan opted for hip resurfacing, a conservative option for active patients under age 60 who suffer from joint pain, but are not ready for total joint replacement. The procedure preserves more of a patient's natural bone structures. Rather than replacing the entire hip joint, the surgeon simply shaves a few centimeters of bone around the damaged femoral head (the ball at the top of the thighbone that fits into the socket) and caps the joint with a metal cup.

Recuperation time is about the same as total hip replacement - about four to eight weeks. Longer term, hip resurfacing leads to a lifestyle with no physical limitations after one year.

"Life is not the same when you are in pain and on medications," said Dolan, who plays on two hockey teams year-round, enjoys walking and racquetball. "When the pain is gone and your senses are not numbed by medications, you suddenly experience life in a much more positive way."

Walking Soon After Surgery

Prior to surgery, Dolan had been hobbling around with a cane and taking pain medication for arthritis that started in 2003. By 2006, the athletic father of three could no longer play sports - and he opted for surgery. Dolan spent four days in Saint Joseph and was up walking a day after surgery.

"From the moment I came to Saint Joseph to the moment I left, the hospital staff was fantastic," Dolan said. "The people at Saint Joseph care deeply for their patients. Dr. Rubinstein is a great physician - so accessible and honest with patients."

After his one-year check-up in July 2008, Dolan doesn't need to return for a visit until 2010, unless he has problems.

"I tell anyone who is considering total hip replacement to do your research before making a decision - get several medical opinions," Dolan said.

Patient Update: What's New in 2009?

Tom Dolan shows off his hockey team's
first-place trophy from the summer
2009 championship.

Dolan's hockey team won the 2009 summer championship - his eighth win, but the first one since hip resurfacing surgery.

"I had the thrill of playing in the championship - enjoying the feeling that I helped contribute to the victory," Dolan said. "I am so blessed to be able to take part in the things in life that really make me happy."

He said the championship capped off an active summer that included walking, running, biking, tennis, racquetball, ice hockey and wiffle ball with his sons. Dolan continues to be pain-free.

"Life is good," he said.

Additional Information

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