ATLANTA - Eric Sidewater has spent most of his life on "go," pushing himself. And by his mid-40s, he was feeling it, in his hip.
"And then it really started hitting home when I took a trip to New York, I noticed at the end of the day, I was in a lot of pain and starting to limp. That's when the light bulb went off," says Sidewater.
He came to see Dr. Jeffrey Peretz of Resurgens Orthopaedics.
"The first time I went to Resurgens, they took an x-ray, and they said, 'Eric, you're a healthy guy, but you have 70 year old hips," recalls Sidewater
Peretz says Eric was likely born with a hip problem that predisposed him to osteoarthritis -- but the wear and tear of his active may have speed up the damage. He recommended hip replacement surgery.
"So hip replacement is when you replace the ball and socket with metal and plastic parts," says Peretz.
Eric Sidewater admits being concerned.
"It kind of freaked me out a little bit, I've never had any surgeries. I've never had any issues with anything. And of course when you think about hip replacement, you typically think about your grandparents."
Sidewater had an outpatient surgery. And Instead of getting to the hip joint from behind, which requires cutting through major muscles, Dr. Peretz went in from the front, pushing a larger muscle out of the way.
"You're essentially going in at an interval where you're not splitting or detaching any muscles, so the recovery is a lot faster," says Peretz..
And Sidewater says right away, he was up and moving.
"Walking within 20 minutes of waking up. I went home 4 hours later, after the initial surgery. I was home, having a turkey sandwich in my house, at 1:30pm and I felt pretty good," recalls Sidewater "I never used a walker, never used a cane, I was walking from the time I left the hospital until today."
He's still a little tender, but it's nothing like the bone-on-bone pain he was experiencing. But Dr. Peretz cautions hip replacement is still major surgery.
"I still wouldn't look at it as a small procedure or a quick fix. But it is a big procedure that can really impact peoples' lives," says Peretz.
Six weeks out, Eric Sidewater says he's "85% recovered." No longer dogged by pain.
If you are younger, and are considering joint replacement, Eric and experts say do your homework.