Carolinas HealthCare System

Hip Surgery Patient Gets His Life – and His Tennis Game – Back

Hip surgery patient Richard Shipman preps for his backswing.
Hip surgery patient Richard Shipman practices his backswing.

“I have been playing tennis since I was 10 and it has been a big part of my life for most of my life. When I retired (from US Airways) at age 60, it became an even bigger part of my life as I had the time and opportunity to start playing more tournaments and leagues.

“When hip arthritis set in, it became painful to walk and stand, let alone run and compete, and I was totally out of tennis. There was no question that I would have surgery, since life without tennis was just not an option. So, I started my research for a doctor, specifically one who was capable of a relatively new procedure known as hip resurfacing as opposed to the traditional hip replacement.

Finding the right doctor

"This procedure is designed for people who want to remain active, since it offers better range of motion and less probability of dislocation. After interviewing several doctors and searching the internet, Dr. Masonis was one of the few surgeons in the Charlotte area who had substantial experience with this new procedure, and he was the only surgeon who would consent to do the surgery on an older patient such as me.

“Make no mistake, hip surgery is major surgery, and healing takes time and work, but everything went well and I started hitting balls against the practice wall in early August after my surgery in May 2010. By September I was playing again, if at somewhat a slower pace, and by the end of October, I played in my first post-surgery tournament.

“Although I didn’t win the tournament, I was pleased with my progress and the hip held up well. From that point I have continued to build strength, increase practice time and enter new tournaments.

“My results in 2011 were mixed, but everything sort of peaked in October of 2011 when I won the N.C. state singles tournament in the 65 and older category. I’d say I’m close to being where I was before the surgery, so, as I told Dr. Masonis on my last checkup, ‘you’ve given me my life back.’”

Richard Shipman
Hip Resurfacing Patient, 2010
CMC-Mercy Hip and Knee Center

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