A New Hip Means Freedom From Excruciating Pain

October 26, 2022

Rebecca Richards tests out her new hip, supported by her surgeon, Dr. Omar Kadri.
Rebecca Richards tests out her new hip, supported by her surgeon, Dr. Omar Kadri.

Traditional hip replacement surgery can be a life-changer, but the recovery can be painful. Now Corona Regional Medical Center offers a less-invasive alternative, Mako SmartRobotics™ robotic-assisted surgery, to patients who qualify.

Meet Rebecca Richards. She’s 64 years young, very active, loves dance and lives in the Santa Ana Mountains. She does most of her work on the coast, where she runs her own seaweed and aquaculture farm out of a barge docked at the port. “The Port of San Diego is supporting an aquaculture program and we are part of that – growing food in the ocean,” she says. “We were chosen to be a partner in that. It’s very exciting!”

Upper thigh pain – a pulled muscle?

When Rebecca’s upper thigh started to hurt, she chalked it up to a pulled muscle. But the pain persisted for months, so she decided to get it checked out. MRIs and X-rays pointed to a clear cause: arthritis. For an on-the-go woman like herself, the unknowns of undergoing hip replacement surgery were stressful. What could this mean for her livelihood? Her family? Her hobbies? It filled her with uncertainty.

The first options were either taking anti-inflammatory medication or going to physical therapy. As a lover of fitness, she committed to physical therapy. Unfortunately, it could only do so much. She dealt with excruciating pain for over a year until it became unbearable.

She was disappointed to find that her orthopedic surgeon only offered posterior hip replacements, which are known to be more invasive and lengthier in recovery time than anterior ones. Her physician suggested researching a robotic approach instead. “I needed to find a doctor in my insurance plan who did robotic surgery,” says Richards. “Luckily, there was an opening at Corona Regional in two weeks.”

Richards met with Dr. Omar Kadri, an orthopedic surgeon who explained how the procedure would be done using the Mako SmartRobotics system. They discussed the plan of action, and he made sure that she felt confident and comfortable and his staff did the same. In the operating room, Richards was a celebrity. Being the first patient at CRMC to have a Mako hip replacement, the procedure was one to witness. “Everyone was excited for me, from the time I got there until I left. It was quite an experience,” says Richards.

Shortly after surgery, physical and occupational therapists assisted Richards in getting up and moving around with a walker. “I was prepared from a fitness standpoint because I am always active and exercising. I had even practiced getting in and out of a vehicle so I knew what to expect,” she says. A few hours later, Richards was discharged. “I was amazed that when I sat in the truck, I had no pain in my hip,” she explains. “The doctor did prescribe pain meds to take once I got home, but I only took them for two nights. After that, I didn’t need them.”

She only used her walker for a week, especially outside to get exercise, before being cleared to walk completely on her own. She returned two weeks later for a follow-up appointment. Everything looked great and they removed her bandages.

For Rebecca, the entire process felt seamless and, now, worthwhile. She’s back to enjoying her time hiking, tending to her aquaculture and enjoying life. There’s nothing that she can’t do. “I am so grateful to have met Dr. Kadri. He and the staff at Corona Regional really put me at ease, and I would definitely recommend them. The nurses took great care of me, and the process was very smooth. Having the surgery has definitely improved my quality of life, and I have them to thank,” says Richards.

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if robotic surgery is right for you.