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The Right Physician, The Right Procedure, The Right Time

The Right Physician, The Right Procedure, The Right Time

Jim Love, 76, is the CEO of a chemical manufacturing company that he founded in 1991. He enjoys hiking and playing tennis and remains very active. He has been a Bay Area resident in the Monterey Peninsula for over 40 years and is very involved in his community. Because of his active lifestyle, he recognized that he had progressing mobility issues. Additionally, he had a prior thigh bone fracture from a car accident, which had altered his bone anatomy. He explained, “I knew I had a problem with my knees and it was getting worse. I waited as long as I could and then went to see someone. We found out it was worse than I thought. It was bone on bone in one knee already.”

Love went to see a local orthopedic surgeon. That surgeon examined him and discussed surgery and other options. Love noted, “That doctor said he could give me a cortisone shot but that would mean I couldn’t have a knee replacement for three months. I could also have had a hyaluronic acid shot to help cushion my knee. Then I started doing research. The orthopedist I was seeing took a more invasive surgical approach and wasn’t trained on the new minimally invasive techniques, so I started looking around for another orthopedist. I knew this was going to be a serious procedure.”

By this time, Love’s condition had deteriorated further. Besides his left knee requiring a replacement, he was also having trouble with his right hip. “I couldn’t play tennis. I couldn’t go for a run or even a walk. The pain in my knee was really bad. The pain was really horrible. And when I say horrible, it was like I was ready to order the coffin,” he said.

After extensive research, Love found the Institute for Joint Restoration and Research (IJRR) at Washington Hospital and Dr. Alexander Sah. Dr. Sah’s evaluation found that he had reached bone-on-bone wear in his right hip. Love elected to have some of the most advanced treatment with 3D scanning and imaging for precise preoperative planning specific to his anatomy. Love shared, “When I found Dr. Sah, he was incredible. He said we can do your knee and we decided to do a full knee replacement. And we could do the hip at the next appointment. So on Nov. 14, I had the knee replacement and six weeks later on Jan. 4, I had the hip replacement. It was the left knee and the right hip, back to back.”

Dr. Sah made a thorough plan for both of Love’s joint replacements, using many of the advanced technologies available to patients at the IJRR. The knee replacement surgery incorporated advanced imaging and robotic-assistance techniques to accommodate for Love’s prior thigh bone fracture. The robotic technology provides additional accuracy. The hip replacement was an anterior approach also using advanced real-time imaging during the procedure to optimize implant fit, placement, and leg length restoration. In both cases, the advanced techniques result in better outcomes and faster recovery times. Love was a particularly enthusiastic and engaged patient with his surgeries. He said, “When they do the replacement, they cut the top off the femur and hammer the replacement into the bone. I had the preoperative 3D plan for the surgery, and it is incredible. It was unbelievable, actually. The precision was remarkable. You can see that the new prosthesis is precisely placed for you. With the advanced 3-dimensional plan that they had after scanning my hip, there was even a little ledge to make sure it goes in exactly to the right place to the millimeter.”

Love was so involved in his treatment that he elected to remain conscious and view the surgery. These surgeries are typically no longer performed under general anesthesia, so patients can watch their own surgery. Love said, “I was awake for the whole operation. It was amazing. Everyone was surprised, but I found it interesting. It was a spectacular experience to see your leg floating out there.”

He added, “When they did my hip replacement, Dr. Sah showed me the top of my femur and said, ‘this is why you are in so much pain – because it is flat, completely flat on one side instead of rounded.’”

Love is very happy with the results of his surgeries. He is already walking and playing tennis again. He is pain free and rehabilitation is going extremely well. He was very excited by one additional benefit he hadn’t realized would come from the surgery. “My right leg used to be shorter than my left leg and that was one of the reasons my hip wore out. They are able to fix that in the replacement and now my legs are the same length. My other pains and problems have gone away.”

His life has improved immeasurably for the better. “I’m playing tennis again,” he said “I’m pain free and I can see that I will be able to return to all the activities I used to do. It’s just fantastic.”

For more information about the IJRR and the minimally invasive procedures done by Dr. Sah and his partner, Dr. Bryant Bonner, visit