Mahwah Woman Gets Her Active Lifestyle Back Through Knee Surgery and Hip Replacements

July 6, 2021

Lorraine Albano, a 63-year-old retired office manager in Mahwah, New Jersey, had been enduring severe hip and knee pain on both sides for more than four years. Moving had become so difficult that she needed a walker just to get around. At that time, she thought the whole problem was in her knees. The ultra-conservative treatment plan her then-doctor recommended didn’t include any diagnostic work to look for other causes.  As a result, she was unable to have the physically active lifestyle she wanted and she wasn’t getting any better.

Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Lorraine questioned her physical therapists about who they would see in her situation. They highly recommended Joseph Bellapianta, M.D., at Mountainside Medical Center, so she made an appointment with him.

“When I met him, he had a warm, kind manner,” Lorraine says. “He never rushed me. He made me feel that I matter.”

Dr. Bellapianta remembers first meeting Lorraine: “She was a lovely woman who was suffering from bilateral hip pain. It was interfering with her quality of life. She was frustrated because she felt she had lots to do in life, yet her hip pain was slowing her down.”

Considering Her Choices

Taking time to be sure Lorraine understood all her options, the two first discussed all aspects of conservative care, including physical therapy, biologic injections, stem cells, platelet-rich plasma injections and acupuncture, as well as surgical options.

They decided that for her, the first steps of treatment were outpatient arthroscopic knee surgeries to deal with inflammation and synovitis, or as Lorraine says, to “clean her knees out.” That helped some, but when her hip pain continued, Dr. Bellapianta recommended replacing both hips.

On July 16, 2019, Dr. Bellapianta performed a total left hip replacement for Lorraine. She speaks glowingly of her experience there. Her nurses and physical therapists were gentle and caring. They came right away when she called. Two days after her surgery, her nurse care manager arranged a seamless transfer to a rehabilitation facility where she built up her strength getting ready to return to her home and its many stairs.

One month later, on August 6, Dr. Bellapianta replaced Lorraine’s right hip. That surgery, too, went well. Her second rehabilitation stay was shorter. Regular physical therapy appointments rebuilt her strength, and within three weeks, Lorraine had discarded the walker she’d needed before and was walking with only a cane.

Recovering Quality of Life

By October 2019, Lorraine was back to playing golf, a game she adores. She also was able to make her annual trip to spend winter in her Florida home with two new hips, which was her goal.

Today, Lorraine raves about her experiences with Dr. Bellapianta and Mountainside. After years of crippling pain, she says, “I ride a bike, dance and play golf several times a week with no pain.”

Now, her favorite activity is chasing her 3-year-old granddaughter, Hailey, around the house. “I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the surgery,” she says. “It has certainly given me my quality of life back.”

At times, people will endure unnecessary pain because they fear treatment or surgery. Dr. Bellapianta tells them: “The treatment today is less invasive and cutting edge. Reducing pain and having a better quality of life should outweigh any fears.”

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