Mark Baer, who has lived in Salt Lake City for most of the past 30 years, has been athletic all his life. His passion for sports is evident in the scores of marathons and triathlons he has completed over the years. But his hip paid the price for these athletic pursuits when he was only in his forties. He developed severe pain in his left leg caused by a complete deterioration in his hip joint.
He tried everything to manage it, but the arthritis progressed. “You can get along for a while,” says Mr. Baer, “but then suddenly it gets terrible.”
So Mr. Baer decided to come east to undergo a hip resurfacing procedure with Edwin P. Su, MD, assistant attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. Hip resurfacing is a procedure in which the ball and socket are replaced, but the femur bone is preserved and sculpted to accept a metal cap with a shorter stem. By retaining more bone in the femur, a patient can still have a total hip replacement should it become necessary at a later date. Hip resurfacing and total hip replacement have become more popular in younger patients with arthritis as these procedures allow them to return to certain activities like tennis and skiing. Says Mr. Baer, “What Dr. Su was able to see that nobody else saw was that the underlying bone was very solid and that made all the difference. He knew what to look for.”
At age 52, Mr. Baer is telemark skiing, snowboarding, and participates in many other sports, including running. “I went from complete immobility to a complete recovery.”