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A leg up

Joint Center helps contractor recover quickly from hip replacement surgery

Undergoing joint replacement surgery is not an easy decision to make. Brian Kopia, 44, elected for this surgery twice. He had two total hip replacement surgeries, both at Augusta Health.

An owner of a home remodeling company in Staunton, Kopia says his hips weren’t “in great shape to begin with” because of an issue with the positioning of his hip sockets during growth and development. However, they became really worn out from frequent mountain biking, running and hiking in college, and from working as a contractor for the past 10 years. “It got to the point where it became too painful to work,” he says.

Even though he was dealing with extreme pain on a daily basis, Kopia says he was hesitant to opt for hip replacement since it’s such a major surgery. However, after meeting with orthopedic surgeon Thomas Pereles, MD, at Augusta Health, Kopia elected to have surgery on his right hip in 2007. Eight years later, when chronic pain began nagging his left hip making it difficult to work, Kopia faced a familiar decision. Since he experienced a successful surgery and recovery the first time, Kopia says his decision to undergo a second hip replacement was more of a “no-brainer.”

And when Kopia had surgery this past December with Dr. Pereles, he had the added benefit of treatment at Augusta’s Joint Center for the pre- and post-surgical process.

Reaching goals

The Joint Center opened in the spring of 2014 in order to help hip and knee replacement recipients reach their goals of recovery and return to their lives faster than ever before. “Everybody was on the same page, wanting to see you do well,” says Kopia. “It was a very positive experience.”

Leading up to his operation, Kopia took a class at the Joint Center that covered what to expect during and after surgery. He also focused on getting in shape, eventually losing 30 pounds, because the Joint Center said that being in good physical shape would aid with surgery and recuperation.

Kopia experienced firsthand how the Joint Center accelerates patients’ stays in the hospital and overall recovery. He was up and walking within eight hours after surgery. And in his two-day stay at the hospital, Kopia says he did a lot of exercises in the Joint Center with the help of the staff. “It was very one-on-one,” he says. “I felt like I was their only patient even though they had a floor full of people.”

After completing two days of post-op rehab at the Joint Center, Kopia went home and was back to work only three weeks later (on limited duties). “The Joint Center gets you set up with the tools and training to do your rehab once you’re home,” he says.

Kopia is happy with his decision to have a second hip replacement, and he recommends the surgery and the Joint Center to anyone who is considering it. “It’s only going to add quality and value to their lifestyle,” he says. “It’s given me the ability to be able to go to work out more regularly, and it’s made the day-to-day easier, too.”

The most important consideration: “You don’t have to live with pain,” he says.