Hip Fixer-Upper

January 14, 2019

Joanne Ciezak was standing on her front porch when a ladder her husband had been using for painting suddenly collapsed, ricocheted up and hit her thighs.

“I immediately was knocked down and knew that there was a big problem,” she says. Joanne, 58, was rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where doctors discovered that her injuries were complicated by hip replacements she’d had 30 years prior.

THE BEST SOLUTION

Joanne had fractured both femurs and her right hip. William Baione, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Jersey Shore, revised the implant on the right, putting in a new femoral stem and plastic liner. On the left, Dr. Baione was able to salvage the implant and fix the fracture with a specialized plate and screws that adhered to the bone around the implant. “He explained everything so I could understand it as a layperson and not worry that he was ‘speaking doctor’ to me,” Joanne says.

The expertise of Jersey Shore’s surgeons is crucial to their ability to handle complex cases such as Joanne’s. “Revising an existing joint replacement is much more complicated than the initial surgery because you have to account for bone loss, scar tissue and the age of the existing implants,” says Dr. Baione, who is fellowship trained in joint replacement and specializes in revision surgery and treating periprosthetic fractures. “These surgeries require a working knowledge of various types of implants and techniques to provide a definitive solution that will last.”

Joanne spent 10 days in the hospital recovering, then was transferred to Hackensack Meridian Health Subacute Rehab at Wall for eight weeks. Although she was anxious to return to work as the director of curriculum and instruction at a health sciences high school in New Brunswick, patience was key to healing properly.

WORKING AT RECOVERY

Since the accident, Joanne moved from Neptune to Ocean County. “I found an awesome Pilates instructor who’s helping me through rehab, I was finally able to start bike riding again, and I’m trying to strengthen my legs,” she says. “My recovery was a lot faster than I thought, or anyone thought.”

She also got to see Dr. Baione outside the hospital, when he visited her high school to speak with the students about his career.

Full recovery will take a few more years, but Joanne is confident that she’ll continue to improve with Dr. Baione’s help. “He’s an awesome person,” she says. “I’m sorry I had the accident, but I’m happy that I met him.”

Learn more about orthopedic surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and orthopedic services at Hackensack Meridian Health.