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October 14, 2021

New hips, new lease on life: One patient’s story

Fall River, MA - For Lisa Cavanaugh, 57, of Cranston, RI, painful hips were becoming a real obstacle in her life.

Osteoporosis and a fracture created a perfect storm for Lisa’s hip pain. Not only did the growing pain in both hips affect her work as an operating room tech at a Rhode Island hospital, a job that keeps her on her feet most of the time. She also was having trouble doing everyday things, like shopping or housework, or even turning over in bed, and continuing in her role as a caretaker for others.

When the pain became so significant that she was forced to use a cane, Lisa consulted orthopedic surgeon Jerald Katz, of SMG Saint Anne’s Orthopedics in Fall River. Lisa had formerly worked with Dr. Katz in the OR at Saint Anne’s Hospital. She knew that, if he recommended hip replacement, his experience with Saint Anne’s Mako robotic-arm assisted technology for joint replacement could be a real benefit.

Dr. Katz recommended two hip replacements. Together, they decided to repair her left hip first. Although her physical therapy took longer than average due to lingering pain in her right hip, she reached her preliminary goals and underwent her second hip replacement six months later.

That was five years ago. Today, Lisa continues to work full-time in an ambulatory surgery setting, moves with confidence, and leads a full life.

“The way I walk now, you’d never know I had my hips done,” she says. “I can turn over in bed and lie on my side, too, which I really missed.”

She credits Dr. Katz and the use of the Mako technology for her good-as-new hips.

Dr. Katz notes that Mako’s advanced robotic-arm assisted technology has several advantages for joint replacement patients.

“Mako uses unique interactive technology that allows orthopedic surgeons to achieve a high level of accuracy in aligning and positioning the joint implant,” says Dr. Katz. “In hip replacement, this is especially helpful in ensuring equal leg length.”

In addition, he says, “Patients whose joints have been repaired with Mako report lower pain scores, shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery, and a more natural feeling that allows greater mobility and a return to an active lifestyle.”

Lisa Cavanaugh agrees.

“Today, no one can tell I’ve had this done. I feel wonderful,” she says.

About Saint Anne’s Hospital Center for Orthopedic Excellence

Saint Anne’s Center for Orthopedic Excellence offers advanced joint replacement care, including traditional joint replacement, as well as advanced robotic-assisted procedures. The hospital was first in Massachusetts to offer robotic-arm assisted Mako technology, initially for partial knee replacement in 2011, followed by total hip replacement in 2012 and total knee replacement in 2018. To date, Saint Anne’s surgeons have performed more than 1,450 hip and knee procedures using Mako.

In addition to knee and hip replacement, Saint Anne’s Hospital Center for Orthopedic Excellence capabilities includes arthroscopic surgery, hand surgery, surgical and non-surgical sports medicine, orthopedic trauma, pediatric orthopedics, arm and shoulder surgery (including total shoulder replacement), concussion management, and general orthopedics. 

Orthopedic surgeons perform more than 4,000 orthopedic procedures annually at the hospital’s surgical facilities in Fall River, Dartmouth, and Attleboro. 

In recognition of its excellence in joint replacement, Saint Anne’s Hospital has been awarded advanced certification for hip and knee replacement by The Joint Commission since 2016.  It also has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Hip and Knee Replacement by Blue Cross Blue Shield since 2011.

Learn more here.