Keeping up with Lou Luongo was never easy. A type ‘A’ personality, he skated through life at full speed.
“I love to play hockey still, I’ve been playing hockey for years,” says Luongo.
It wasn’t age that slowed him down, but a bad hip that made Luongo hang up his skates.
“The competitive person I am - it was very aggravating; from the simple walking to getting out of a chair. It was just bone-on-bone, it was terrible,” says Luongo.
Here’s what his hip looked like - no cartilage and several bone spurs. When he couldn’t take the pain anymore, Luongo joined the three-quarters of a million people each year who have a hip replaced
“The main reason for doing hip replacements is for patients who developed arthritic hip joints. And it’s a very common process that occurs primarily in our population between 65 and 85, but as our baby boom population gets older, we’re seeing a lot of younger patients in our 40s and 50s,” says Dr. David Heligman, orthopedic surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
The baby-boomers are becoming generation ‘now’. Instead of suffering for years and accepting life on the sidelines, they are taking charge and taking back their mobility.
“Especially in the younger people, we have several different types of implants and some of them are what we call ‘demand matched’ to the patient. So a younger patient may get an implant that’s designed to last 30, 40, 50 years vs. someone who is 85 where the demand, the durability is less,” says Heligman.
After several months of healing, Luongo took his new hip on a ski trip...
“I was very hesitant and when I got out there for the first time and kind of pushed it a little bit. I was shocked, it was absolutely more then I could ever imagine,” says Luongo.
“When we remove the arthritic portions of the hip, we remove the arthritic bone and replace it with our implants - all that pain goes away. The motion improves and obviously increases your quality of life and allows you to do things that you want to do again,” says Dr. Heligman.
The ultimate test for Luongo came on the rink.
“I just put it in high gear, again with my personality being the way it is,” says Luongo.
And it’s hip replacement surgery that’s solving many a mid-life crisis.