Feeling Strong After Construction

Following knee and hip replacement surgeries at Henry Mayo, Kathryn Selvaggio is now living pain-free.

After knee and two hip replacement surgeries in 18 months, Kathryn Selvaggio liked to joke that she’d been “under construction.” Now nearly recovered from her procedures and no longer in pain, she wondered, “Why did I put surgery off for so long?”

Before the surgeries, she endured years of injection therapies on her left knee but reached a point where the injections were no longer offering relief for her arthritis. “It started to affect my quality of life,” Selvaggio said, noting she experienced pain walking even short distances and had difficulty climbing stairs. “When you’re in pain, you mentally calculate how far you need to walk.” 

The Valencia resident saw Tarek Bittar, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, who recommended knee replacement surgery. 
Selvaggio had the procedure in February 2017, followed by in-home and outpatient physical therapy. Within a few months, her knee felt strong enough 
for her to travel and embark on a European cruise. But Selvaggio soon started feeling pain in her hips. Steroid injections provided pain relief, but her condition was getting progressively worse and she needed to rely on crutches to get around. Dr. Bittar advised hip replacement surgery to relieve the pain and 
restore function. 

Selvaggio had surgery on her left hip in May and her right hip in July. Her weekslong recovery again included in-home and outpatient physical therapy. 
“Dr. Bittar said that as soon as I woke up, all the pain would be gone, and it was,” said Selvaggio, a retired pharmaceutical sales representative with two children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “I would absolutely recommend that others get these surgeries if they’re needed. Everybody says, ‘When you get it done, you’re going to wonder why you put it off for so long,’ and it’s absolutely true.” 

Of her two-day stay at the hospital, she added, “Henry Mayo was great—people were lined up to talk to me about one thing or another. … I also took a joint replacement program class to prepare me for the surgeries and get answers to my questions. They took good care of me.” 

With a new knee and hips, Selvaggio is looking forward to resuming her annual vacation to Europe this fall—pain-free. IYH