Why going under the scalpel for a hip replacement was one of the best decisions of Dr. Alan Beyer's life

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Alan Beyer, MD, executive medical director of Irvine, Calif.-based Hoag Orthopedic made a life-changing decision in October 2012 when he decided to have a hip replacement.

Dr. Beyer had nagging hip pain that was interfering with his daily life. The pain kept him up at night and made it impossible for him to enjoy one of his favorite hobbies, golf.


He elected to undergo a total hip replacement at Hoag, and kept video diary of his experience he published online under The Other Side of the Scalpel moniker.


As Dr. Beyer approaches his procedure's fifth anniversary, he spoke with Becker's Orthopedic Review about the hip replacement, his video diary and suggestions he has for patients considering total joint replacement.


The first several videos document Dr. Beyer's slight anxiety over the upcoming procedure after he made the decision to have the hip replacement. Although he had never performed a replacement that resulted in a catastrophic outcome, he knew what could go wrong.


"I knew that chances of those things happening were as minimal as they could possibly be, so I said, 'Look, you know your other option is to live with your hip feeling this way for the rest of your life,' I knew that wasn't a viable option," Dr. Beyer says.


So he underwent the procedure. He documented several videos of his recovery in which he calls the operation one of the best decisions he made. Now almost five years later, he still stands by his decision.


"I haven't looked back since I had it," Dr. Beyer says. "I'm about to golf six golf courses in four days. Before the replacement I wouldn't have dreamt of doing that."


His operation has changed how Dr. Beyer advises his own patients.


"If I'm talking to a patient now who is in their 50s, 60s, even early 70s who are thinking about having a joint replacement. I can look them in the eye and say, 'I know exactly what you're going through," Dr. Beyer says. "I went through exactly the same decision making process myself. I tell them 'you have to decide, does this bother me enough to have it fixed?'"


He frequently refers both his and his colleagues' prospective patients to the video series.


"The videos are going to help you make a hard decision and convince yourself you're doing the right thing," he says. "The information in them is very real. It wasn't scripted and it's very valuable."


Dr. Beyer did have one regret about the video series, however.


"I wish my face looked a little thinner in the videos," he joked.


To see the entire video series, click here.

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