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What began as a nagging pain in Ken Johnson’s upper leg and buttocks region evolved into a long and painful battle that diminished his quality of life. Everyday activities, and even a trip to Italy, were plagued by chronic discomfort. Eventually, the pain escalated to the point that the seasoned financial advisor was unable to make it through a day on the job. Consequently, he had to miss nine consecutive months of work.
“It consumed my life,” said Ken. “I didn’t think I would ever get better. No one could figure out what was going on.”
After initially being told that arthritis was the culprit, Ken was diagnosed with osteomyelitis: a chronic inflammation of the bone or bone marrow. His entire hip was infected, and in April of 2008 he underwent surgery to have it removed. Unfortunately, removing the hip did not eliminate the problem; persistent infection, pain and impaired leg function remained and he began suffering from 100 to 102 degree fevers on a daily basis.
“To be sick every single day was exhausting. Nothing seemed to help.“ Ken regained a sense of hope after seeking treatment from Sharp-affiliated orthopedic surgeons Drs. George Cierny and Doreen DiPasquale.
“They evoke a sense of confidence, are very good at what they do and, after reading the first MRI, were able to see where the infection was hiding; deep within my pelvis bone,” said Ken.
Drs. Cierny and DiPasquale are among a handful of physicians worldwide who specialize in the treatment of orthopedic infections. Utilizing state-of-the-art diagnostics, they located the source of infection and performed the surgery necessary to save Ken’s leg at Sharp Memorial Hospital in July of 2008.
Ken says his wife knew the surgery was a success even before he woke up. “She noticed, even though I was asleep, that the pained look on my face was gone.”
In addition to removing the source of the infection, Drs. Cierny and DiPasquale restored Ken’s hip motion and leg length using an antibiotic infused prosthesis to treat the infection locally. After relying on crutches, a walker or wheelchair to get around for months, he was once again able to walk unassisted.
Three months later, once the infection had cleared up, Ken underwent a total hip replacement surgery at Sharp Memorial Hospital, which further escalated his recovery. “From that point on, I just got better and better,” he said. “I went back to work full-time at the end of January 2009.”
A year and a half after undergoing hip replacement surgery, Ken is not only back at work — he has reclaimed the quality of life he knows and loves. He’s back to golfing, riding motorcycles and playing the drums. He remains infection-free.
Find a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon
To learn more about orthopedics at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for San Diego orthopedic surgeons or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.