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When the caregiver needs care, we’re here to help

Thanks to same-day hip surgery at North Shore University Hospital, James now has a fresh start.

Man in his 60s in a park smiling and leaning on a tree.
James Moskos enjoys a walk in the park after his successful minimally invasive hip replacement surgery.

About two and a half years ago, James Moskos, 61, of Huntington, NY, became the primary caregiver for both of his ailing parents. He ended up leaving his job in the health insurance industry to spend months at a time in Florida, where they both lived. “My father succumbed to cancer while I was helping him, and my mother recently passed from Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.

Around the time James started looking after his parents, a health issue of his own began to surface—pain and weakness in his left hip flexor muscle. At first, he managed the discomfort with ibuprofen, but after a while pain medication didn't work.

He scheduled a consultation with an orthopedist who said the hip was degenerating and would likely need to be replaced in the next five years. “I was floored,” said James, adding that he worked out a few times a week and was at a healthy weight, so the news was surprising.

He was also taken aback by how quickly his hip actually worsened—the joint seemed to deteriorate at the same pace his parents’ health declined. “It was like running out of gas,” he said. For a while, he was functioning relatively well on half a tank. “But all of a sudden it seemed like I had a quarter tank, and within a couple of months, the joint was on empty. It all happened so fast.”

James couldn’t stand in one place for more than about two minutes at a time or walk more than 100 yards without pain. After doing some online research, James and his son agreed that Northwell orthopedic surgeon Jonathan R. Danoff, MD, was the one to see because he embraced advanced surgical techniques and had an impressive research background. “He’s a joint replacement specialist who is really into his craft,” said James. 

After meeting Dr. Danoff, James learned that hip replacement surgery was his best treatment option. “I had a bunch of questions and he answered all of them. He was extremely attentive and focused,” said James. He was also impressed by Dr. Danoff’s innovative approach to hip replacement surgery. Instead of making an incision through the glutes, he accesses the joint at the front of the hip using a minimally invasive technique—what physicians call the anterior approach. This method allows patients to heal more quickly, and in many cases, go home the same day. 

Smiling man in his 60s standing outside with his hair blowing in the wind.
James is happy to be back on his feet again.

On the morning of December 14, 2018, James had his surgery at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, which took about one and a half hours. Afterward, Dr. Danoff checked on James and then a physical therapist evaluated him and helped him move around. He was able to walk the halls and take the stairs without any weakness and very little pain using only a cane. Later that same day, James was cleared to return home. “Dr. Danoff told me I was the perfect candidate for having ambulatory surgery because I was in good shape and I had a positive outlook on my recovery.”

James recovered quickly at home using a virtual physical therapy training program provided by Dr. Danoff’s office to guide his physical therapy. He did not need to take any narcotics in his recovery, and started moving around his house on his own without the cane just three days after surgery.

Four weeks later at James’ follow-up appointment, Dr. Danoff was impressed that James was walking without a cane or crutches. He credits James’ excellent progress to a positive mental outlook and excellent health. Dr. Danoff told James that he was now routinely performing ambulatory hip replacement surgeries in appropriately selected, healthy and motivated patients. 

Man in his 60s walking outside on sunny day.
James is hitting his stride and continues to look forward.

“My recovery has been amazing,” said James. Being in shape and having a positive attitude have likely helped. Today, he is walking, golfing and lifting weights, all without pain medication. “I'm looking forward to playing with my grandson and granddaughter, and chasing them around the backyard,” he said. “I feel like I’m 55 again. I have a fresh start.”