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Dorothy Andry thought she only had two years to live. Then she found Northwest Community Hospital.

Follow Nancy's Journey

Want to know more about hip replacement and the process Nancy went through to get back to better health? Click here to learn more, then click on "NCH's daily blog" to read her blog and get an inside look at her recovery.

Hip Replacement: A Step in the Right Direction

How hip replacement surgery gave one woman a new lease on life

It's normal to experience aches and pains as we age, but when the pain starts interfering with everyday activities, it may be time to do something about it. That was exactly what happened to Nancy Ackerson, 68, of Lake Zurich.

"I've always been pretty active, but in March 2011, I developed pain in my left hip," Nancy says. "My doctor suggested we watch and wait, but by the middle of summer the pain was unbearable. I had trouble using the stairs in my townhome, and my job as a cashier became increasingly difficult. I didn't want to live like that anymore."

Getting to the Bottom of Hip Pain

Nancy's primary care physician ordered an MRI, which confirmed that her hip was severely arthritic, then referred her to Phillip Ludkowski, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on staff at Northwest Community Hospital.

"We recommend hip replacement surgery when the pain is negatively affecting quality of life," Dr. Ludkowski says. "For Nancy, who has a back condition, the pain in her hip also made it difficult for her to exercise, further contributing to her back problem."

Moving Forward with Hip Replacement

Nancy attended NCH's free pre-operative class before undergoing her hip replacement surgery in October 2011. "The class prepared me for the road ahead," Nancy says. "I knew I was in good hands."

"We use advanced surgical techniques to minimize pain, scarring and recovery times," Dr. Ludkowski says. "Nancy spent just three days on the Orthopedic unit, but it takes several weeks of rehab and recovery before full function is regained."

For Nancy, that meant spending 11 days in an inpatient rehab facility and completing two weeks of in-home physical therapy through NCH Home Care followed by two weeks of outpatient physical therapy. Depending on a patient's individual situation, they can usually go straight home following their hospital stay with the support of NCH Home Care.

"Nancy was an active participant in her recovery," Dr. Ludkowski says. "And our comprehensive post-surgical care team was there to guide her every step of the way."

Six weeks after her surgery, Nancy says she is able to navigate her staircase with ease and get around without pain. "My experience couldn't have been better. Everyone was wonderful—I couldn't have done it without them," she says. "It was absolutely worth it. You can't live in that kind of pain. This surgery changed my life."

Phillip Ludkowski, MD

Phillip Ludkowski, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon at NCH

  • Board Certified: Orthopedic Surgery
  • Medical School: Loyola University
  • Internship and Residency: University of Texas
  • Fellowship: Oxford University

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Last Updated 04/10/2009