Steve Bigley – Hip Replacement

Desert Regional Medical Center is the only hospital in the Coachella Valley with Disease Specific Care Certification for hip and knee replacement from The Joint Commission. Achieving this certification is a voluntary process in which the hospital submitted outcome data including length of stay, complication rates and management protocols for rigorous review which demonstrated compliance with the highest national standards in joint replacement.

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. Desert Regional also has earned Joint Commission Disease Specific Care Certifications for its programs in stroke and congestive heart failure treatment.

"The Joint Commission National Quality Approval" sticker.

The average hospital stay for hip and knee replacement patients at the Joint and Spine Pavilion at Desert Regional Medical Center is just two nights. Some patients only stay one night and check out the next afternoon.

“We have geared our program to promote rapid recovery,” said Douglas Roger, MD, Medical Director of the Joint Replacement Program at the Institute for Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences at Desert Regional Medical Center (ICON). “We know that patients do better at home, recovering in their own, comfortable surroundings.”

There are several reasons today’s patients can go home sooner than they once could. Among these reasons are minimally-invasive surgical techniques, multimodal pain management – focusing on preventing pain before it starts and minimizing narcotic use, on-site rehabilitation and a dedicated team of orthopedic nurses and physical therapists. The less-invasive surgical techniques the ICON surgeons use not only allow for a shorter hospital stay, they also contribute to the need for less pain medication and a quicker return to activities.

“This is our second full season in the new Joint and Spine Pavilion. It’s a much more wellness-oriented environment,” said orthopedic surgeon Louis Stabile, MD who has performed more than 600 anterior-approach, minimally-invasive hip replacements. “The rooms are ergonomically designed for the patients with wheel-in and wheel-out showers and there are circular railings in the hallways and no carpet which makes it easier to use a walker. Seeing other patients up and walking around also breeds healthy competition and just encourages people to go, go, go.”

Steve Bigley, 51, of Palm Springs had both hips replaced by Dr. Stabile this past year.

“Younger people do not present such a physical challenge, but you need to be concerned about the longevity of their implants,” said Dr. Stabile.

“In Steve, I used a ceramic head with a low-wear, highly cross-linked polyethlene plastic liner. These combinations wear about a half-millimeter every 10 years. So, theoretically, his joint replacement can last 100 years,” said Dr. Stabile.

“I was feeling pretty old last year,” said Bigley. “I used to be very active. Over the years, I’ve had to cut out running and hiking and had to modify my golf swing. The only thing I was still able to do was bike. Then last winter, it got so bad I couldn’t even turn the pedal. When I couldn’t bike anymore, I knew it was time to get new hips.”

“The recovery was great,” said Bigley. “I went back to work in three weeks with no cane, no walker and driving myself. As far as exercise, I went back to the gym on day 11.”

Prior to his second hip replacement, he went on a few hikes to try out his new hip. “I hadn’t done any hiking in years. I wanted to see that I did the right thing. Is the joint good? The hike was a good test.”

The recovery on the second hip has been a little slower for Bigley. “But I’m back on my bike and I occasionally commute 26 miles roundtrip to work,” he said. “When I got home from a recent commute, I told my wife ‘it felt smooth, like butter spinning the pedals.’ It was like going back years.”

Paul Reeves, 53, of Desert Hot Springs, made the decision to have a total knee replacement this past year by Dr. Roger who has performed more than 2,000 less-invasive total knee replacements at Desert Regional Medical Center to date.

“I’ve had moderate arthritis for a while and it finally got to the point when it was so painful that I could hardly get around,” said Reeves. “It’s in both knees, so I’ve only had one done so far.”

“Everything was just absolutely fantastic the way I was treated,” he said. “I haven’t spent any time in a hospital that I can remember and it was a very pleasant experience, really.”

Reeves was standing a few hours after surgery, walking some and by day two, he was doing laps around the nurse’s station. As he passed by another patient walking, he would call out encouragement sharing the contagious spirit that flows throughout the floor. “‘Go get ‘em girl,’” he said. “That’s seemingly the whole attitude of the floor – Go get ‘em, get out of here and get back to life.