The Gift of Movement
January 30, 2018
Dr. Robert Kollmorgen (left) and Dirk Strombeck (right)
Dirk Strombeck, 63, began feeling immense pain in his right hip at the beginning of May. Working as a Construction Superintendent at a job that took him to Louisiana, he didn’t feel like he had a lot of options.
“The pain became so bad, I didn’t think I could get out of bed,” Mr. Strombeck shared. He described how he went to the emergency room in Louisiana, where the ER physician referred him to a specialist.
“The ER doctor thought I had a torn muscle, and he wanted me to see an orthopedic surgeon.”
Mr. Strombeck ended up visiting two Orthopedic Surgeons in Louisiana, both of which were not able to tell him what was wrong, or provide any relief for his excruciating pain. After numerous cortisone shots and no real difference, Mr. Strombeck had to leave his work assignment, take a leave of absence and head home to the California Central Valley, where his wife and family live.
Still in pain, Mr. Strombeck attempted to seek care locally, seeing two additional Orthopedic Surgeons who prescribed physical therapy and cortisone pills. However, after doing some research he stumbled onto Dr. Robert Kollmorgen, an Orthopedic Surgeon and Hip Specialist who had recently relocated to Fresno after completing a fellowship at Duke University in Hip Preservation.
Unlike a full hip replacement, hip preservation techniques focus on preserving the hip joint for as long as possible. “The goal of preservation is to restore the anatomy and function of the native hip joint, and in patients who are candidates it works well, regardless of age,” Dr. Kollmorgen explains.
“My first impression of Dr. Kollmorgen was that he was young!” Mr. Strombeck explained, while laughing. “I sat down and told him about my pain and all about my medical history and immediately there was a difference. Every other doctor I had seen previously, had me in and out of their office in 15 minutes. On my first visit with Dr. Kollmorgen I spent two and half hours there. He really listened to me.”
Dr. Kollmorgen felt that Mr. Strombeck was an ideal candidate for a hip arthroscopy, which would preserve his hip and alleviate his pain. “Dirk’s imaging studies revealed good cartilage and no arthritis, making him a great candidate for preservation surgery,” Dr. Kollmorgen said.
Six weeks post-operation, Mr. Strombeck has already seen a big difference. “The biggest improvement has been my ability to move. Any kind of movement was brutal before the surgery,” Mr. Strombeck explained. “The most painful thing for me before the surgery was getting in and out of the vehicle. It was brutal, absolutely brutal to just get out of the car. Now I can do that without pain. I am walking without pain.”
His recovery should only continue to improve, according to Dr. Kollmorgen.
“Mr. Strombeck is still early in his recovery. He is about six weeks out from his operation, but when he hits about twelve weeks he will feel even better. Many people say that a patient over 60 is too old for this type of procedure. But you can still have great results with patients over 60, you just have to find the right patient,” Dr. Kollmorgen said.
Turning to Mr. Strombeck and smiling, Dr. Kollmorgen said, “You look great!”
“I feel great,” Mr. Strombeck smiled back, “The difference is night and day.”
When asked what Mr. Strombeck would say to someone who was in a similar situation, and feeling frustrated by the constant pain and lack of answers, he beamed and said, “Call Dr. Kollmorgen, as quickly as you can.”