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  • Patient: Lance
  • Category: Shoulder and Elbow

“ I was impressed not only by his diagnostic and medical expertise, but that this surgeon was a people person and problem solver – more than just a fine surgeon.”

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Lance Valt, 73, considers himself a bionic man who has a great deal of personal experience when it comes to orthopedic care. The Long Beach retiree has received a new hip, two knee replacements and a half shoulder at another hospital. Last year, his Los Angeles County orthopedic surgeon sent him to a renowned HOI orthopedic surgeon with special expertise in the shoulder.

His HOI shoulder replacement surgical experience was, he says, “beyond outstanding.” Lance continues, “I was able to get into the office right away, and the doctor and his team were extremely nice and efficient. I was impressed not only by his diagnostic and medical expertise, but that this surgeon was a people person and problem solver – more than just a fine surgeon. When we went over the X-rays and he told me I needed surgery, I had every confidence that this was the right thing to do.”

Lance blames the sports he’s enjoyed and “luck of the draw” genetics for painful joints in recent years. Right shoulder pain had begun keeping him from doing what he enjoys – playing the piano, cycling, tennis and lawn bowling. When he could no longer throw a football with his grandson without lots of pain, Lance decided he needed to take action.

Following pre-surgical testing, Lance and his wife, Marilyn, attended a pre-operative class at HOI. “There weren’t any surprises, but I did learn things like how I would use the ‘new-to-me’ sling that were good to know in advance,” he recalls.

The surgery that followed involved an overnight hospital stay. “The staff was really responsive, and the food was good,” he recalls. “Plus, there’s something to be said for having surgery at HOI, where they aren’t treating patients with pneumonia or other medical diagnoses. The people caring for you really understand orthopedic care.”

Lance’s first days back home were “painful but bearable.” He adds, “The good news is I was off strong pain medications within 10 days. I went to physical therapy in my area and did exercises at home. I knew I would have a better outcome if I followed my medical team’s orders. As a result, my recovery has gone swimmingly. My physical therapist told me I am way ahead of where most patients would be.”

About five months after his procedure, Lance, Marilyn and friends headed to France for a three-week vacation. “I could have gone without having shoulder surgery, but it was much more enjoyable without the pain,” he says.

He continues, “By my six-month check-up, I had regained 85 percent of his range of motion. A lot of people would be happy with that, but my surgeon encouraged me to gain even more by continuing my therapeutic exercises.”

Although he’d been told a full recovery from his April could take up to a year, by the end of the year Lance says he felt back to normal. “If I was in my 20s my recovery might have been even faster, but I knew that even with the superb care I had it would take some time to heal. Now that I’m back to normal, I’m ready to get back to the activities I love, especially throwing a football to my grandson.”