Success Stories

We offer patients a unique combination of personal attention in a private practice setting combined with the most advanced surgical techniques. Click on the stories below to see how some of our patients are doing after their surgery.

Bilateral hips & full range of motion

"I just wanted to share my photo -- coming up on my 4 year anniversary of my right hip replacement from July 2013 and my left hip from December 2013. No pain, full range-of-motion, no issues and living life. Just wanted to let (Dr. Gross' Midlands Ortho team) know and see the good work that you do."

 

 

We call Dr. Gross "Dr. Magic"

"Dr. Thomas Gross, Dr. Lee Webb, and their staff (Nurse Nancy is the one I spent a lot of time conversing with) have changed my life SO MUCH.  In less than a year, I went from having to crawl up stairs on all fours to getting back to my active life.  I am 52-years old.  I got my new hip. Now…  I box, trail run, basketball, ultimate frisbee, crossfit, and more.  I was very active before arthritis struck my hip, [...] ruining everything I [did].  JUST OVER ONE YEAR after surgery, I was nearly back to 100%. I couldn’t believe it! Dr. Gross’ pain management is amazing.  Around here in the NC area, there are several of his patients with the exact same [hip resurfacing] surgery.  We all call him “Dr. Magic”.  My sister lives in SC just north of [Columbia].  I stayed with her for a week after surgery.  She and my brother-n-law were shocked by the speed of recovery and are telling all their friends about Dr. Magic.  People who knew me before arthritis, [...] right before the surgery, and [...] now are asking about Dr. Magic.   

Now it is two years, and [I'm] fully recovered.  My progress now is NOT about the surgery but is about me and [the] efforts I make.  Just over a year after surgery, my running partner signed [us] up for one of the hardest marathons in NC.  We finished our 26.2 mile marathon in 5:15.  Not too shabby considering the terrain.  It was good to be sore but not in pain! A marathon. 19 months after my surgery. Thank you Dr. Gross!"

 

 

4-Day Zion Hike with Bilateral Hips

"We hiked in Zion National Park for 4 days. Typically did 5-9 miles per day. Frequently experienced elevation gains > 2000 feet. Never felt anything in my hips all 4 days. Really incredible to be able to do these things with my family. It simply would have been impossible before getting both hips resurfaced.

Please let any prospective patients know of my success and that if I can do it, anybody can. This picture was taken 5 months to the day Dr. Gross resurfaced my left hip and about 16 months after the right."

 

Brilliantly talented surgeon

I ran 1 mile today. It's been almost 2 years since I had to stop running due to my injured hip. It's been 7 months since my hip resurfacing surgery and 1 month since I was cleared to return to full activity - including running. So I want to express my immeasurable gratitude to my brilliantly talented surgeon, Dr Tom Gross MD, and his fantastic team at Midlands Orthopedics in Columbia, SC for fixing me and giving me this unbelievable opportunity. I was told I would never run again. As it always has been in this country, we live in an age of remarkable medical innovation and advancement. Let's hope and pray that these creative and gifted Medical Professionals are allowed to continue to operate and flourish in an environment that nutures their goals and not in one where a group of unknowledgeable and misguided bureaucrats extinguish this spectacularly creative process forever.

Trail running

[I'm] 2-1/2 years out on the right [hip] and 1-1/2 on the left [hip].  Saturday, three of us (I'm far right) did 13 miles up into Crescent Creek drainage near Cooper Landing.  We had an awesome time and did it in 2 hours 45 minutes - a little slower than planned, but it was HOT. Alaska girls don't do hot.  

This is the longest run I've done this summer and one of the more challenging.  This [trail] has some impressive uphill rocky stretches but totally worth it once you get above tree line.  

I have NO PAIN.  None.  I did the downhills just as fast as the chick in the middle, who is an IronMan triathlete.  Downhill was my enemy for so many years; it [used to] hurt so bad.  Uphill I held my own but definitely need more cardio work. [...]  

[...] Once again a heartfelt thank you to all of you and Dr. Gross for giving me this back.

Julie

I did cartwheels to celebrate!

When Dr. Gross resurfaced my right hip in August of 2013, he told me that I would be able to do all the activities that I normally enjoyed doing. He was right! This photo was taken the day I regained my number one ranking in the world for pole vaulting women ages 60-64. I was thrilled to be the only female to pole vault with a resurfaced hip! I did cartwheels to celebrate! 

You gave me renewed hope and a resurfaced hip.

Dr. Gross, Lee Webb, Nancy Smith, et al.

A delayed note of gratitude for your excellent work. On December 4th, 2013 you gave me renewed hope and a resurfaced hip, to pursue my long time passion of ultra-running. In June 2014, with six months full recovery, I ventured back into the mountains and trails to begin renewing the lifestyle I knew before.

I can surf again!

Thank you again for all your help with my hips. I was 29 at the time of the hip replacements. Here about 9 months and 12 months out from my surgeries, I am feeling much better.  I would not say I am 100% yet, but I am continually improving.  I have no discomfort sitting, standing, or walking.  

I know I can trust my newly resurfaced hips.

It has been 14 months since you performed my bilateral hip resurfacing and I am writing to inform you of how the newly resurfaced hips are performing. In one word; FANTASTIC! To describe my results more completely, I will relate one particularly noteworthy experience since the operations.

Apart from the expected discomforts in the first week following surgery and the agony of waiting the six months to be free of the limitations I agreed to follow, the recovery period was really very easy considering the fact that, well, both hips had just been replaced. It would be reasonable to expect much worse.

Latest Results

updated July 2020

 

Dr. Gross performs multiple types of joint replacement including revision surgery. We monitor all of our patient’s results long-term. The American population is highly mobile, and 80% of our patients come from outside of South Carolina. But we still manage to maintain up-to-date follow-up in 96% of cases (many of our patients do not feel the need to follow-up since they have excellent results with no pain; even if this is the case, we still recommend routine follow-up). We periodically update results for the most common procedures performed.

Survivorship Curves: We use the Kaplan-Meier method. This takes into account patients being lost to follow-up as well as deaths due to unrelated causes. Each failure is time weighted by this method. The resulting curve provides the odds of an implant still being in place in the patient at any chosen time point from surgery. Joint replacements are not permanent. The longer that you follow a group of patients, the higher the failure rate that you record. It is very difficult to compare previous results to more recent cases because of the difference in follow-up. But if techniques improve, the survivorship curve of the latest group of patients will be higher and flatter than the previous group. The following results are some of the best in the world; see our publication section  for comparison of these results to other surgeons.

1. Hip Resurfacing

In my opinion Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty (HRA) is the best way to reconstruct a severely arthritic hip. It is more complicated to perform than a standard Total Hip replacement (THR), therefore few surgeons are willing to offer this procedure. In the major joint registry reports THR has better implant survivorship in most groups of patients, except in men with osteoarthritis who are under 60 years old. However, registries measure outcomes for average surgeons; The average surgeon performs less than 2.5 HRA cases/year. This is not adequate to be an expert. In reports by high volume hip resurfacing surgeons, results are much better than the registries suggest. Dr. Gross has now performed over 6500 Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty (HRA) procedures over the last 20 years and currently performs nearly 500 cases/year.

The proven advantages of HRA are better function, longer implant survivorship, fewer dislocations, no thigh pain (from a THR stem), bone preservation, fewer wear/corrosion failures, and longer life expectancy than THR patients.

HRA does not result in a normal hip. But, when done by an expert, it more nearly approaches a normal hip in biomechanics and function and patients are more likely to resume heavy work and impact sports than they could with a THR. Long distance running is even possible for many (but not all) patients. Also, activities that require extreme range of motion such as full squats, yoga, gymnastics and ballet are possible because HRA has near normal stability. There are several other HRA surgeons in the world who have reported similar long-term implant survivorship data. There is no large single surgeon report of THR that can match the results reported here (if you can find one that even comes close, I would be grateful for the reference).

Most failures occur during the first two years after surgery, which is why it is critical to severely limit activities in the first 6 months to allow adequate healing. After that, a patient can gradually return to completely unrestricted activity. There remains a slow rate of failure that occurs over time. But this does not seem to be affected by activity. Therefore, the overall failure rate increases for a group of patients as the length of follow-up increases. Herein, we report implant survivorship, for all three of our HRA implant groups (we no longer use Corin or Biomet hybrid implants; we exclusively use Biomet uncemented implants). Not all complications lead to failure. Below is a complete list of ALL major complications (not just failures/causes for revision) in the 5000 HRA cases using the Biomet uncemented system since 2007:

  1. FAILURES REQUIRING REVISION (up to 13 YEAR FOLLOW-UP)

 

1.     Femoral neck fracture

2.     Failure of acetabular ingrowth

3.     Adverse-wear related failure

4.     Femoral head collapse (osteonecrosis)

5.     Late acetabular loosening

6.     Cup Shift

7.     Unknown cause (revised elsewhere)

8.     Intertrochanteric femoral fracture

9.     Subluxation

10.  Unexplained pain

11.  Femoral head fracture

12.  Subtrochanteric femoral fracture

13.  Impingement

14.  Recurrent dislocation

15.  Deep infection

13

8

3

3

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

0

TOTAL:                                 42 /5010         (0.8% of total cases)

 

  1. COMPLICATIONS REQUIRING REOPERATION*

 

1.     Traumatic intertrochanteric fracture (5-11 months postop)

11

2.     Deep infection (cured)

3.     Hematoma

4.     Superficial infection (cured)

5.     Fascia failure

6.     Frostbite from ice machine

7.     Suture reaction

8.     Dislocation

9.     Abductor Tear

3

3

2

2

2

2

1

1

   
     

*Implants are not removed during reoperation.

TOTAL:                                 27/5010          (0.5% of total cases)

 

  1. OTHER COMPLICATIONS*

1. Acetabular component shift (nonsymptomatic)

28

2. Cardiovascular complication

14

3. Dislocation

13

4. Spinal headache

7

5. Urinary complication

7

6. Fracture

7

7. Hematoma

6

8. Other

4

9. Peroneal nerve palsy

4

10. Femoral component shift

3

11. GI Bleed

2

12. Loose femoral component

2

13. Infection

1

14. Femoral notching

0

15. Death due to surgery

0

 

*No reoperation or revision required.

 

TOTAL:                                 98/5010          (2.0% of total cases)

 

 


  1. RESURFACING SURVIVORSHIP

Includes ALL implant types*: 6100 cases over 18 years

*unless noted otherwise in each graph

Survivorship of hip resurfacing continues to improve as we gain more experience and find measures to prevent failures. These survivorship curves give the reader an opportunity to see what the odds are that their implant will still be functioning at some time point after implantation. We have used three implant systems in the last 18 years. Unless specified, the results include unselected consecutive patients (includes both genders, all ages and all diagnoses). We present three Kaplan-Meier survivorship curves: all implant groups, all implants for patients under 50 at time of surgery, and Biomet implants grouped by sex.

Unlike for THR, implant survivorship does not vary by age (overall 99.1 % 13-year implant survivorship in patients over 50 as well as those under 50 years) Men have slightly better implant survivorship (99.3%), but women are now only one percentage point worse off (98.3%) if you consider 13-year data; if you look at 10-year implant survivorship, women and men are now equal at 99%. Most failures occur in the first 1-2 years. If you make it to one year your implant survivorship at 13 years is 99.6 %, If you make it to 2 years it is 99.8 %. My uncemented resurfacing implant survivorship beats all registry benchmarks for THR regardless of age or sex.

A multicenter international study in which I participated recently waspublished in the journal Hip International. In 27 resurfacing centers in 13 countries over 11,000 cases in patients under age 50 with multiple different metal on metal resurfacing implant brands showed a 90% 20-year implant survivorship (93% in men and 81%in women). For comparison, for total hip replacement registries show approximately 80% implant survivorship at 10 years and 50% at 20 years in this age group.

The Corin (pink) and Biomet hybrid (blue) are implants that I used in the past. Notice that patient follow-up is longer for the Hybrid (cemented femoral) Biomet and the Corin groups. All Biomet hybrid implants (n=739) are now a minimum of 13 years old, all Corin Hybrid implants (n=373) are at least 16 years old. Results are steadily improving with improvements in implants, knowledge about resurfacing and surgeon experience. Current 13-year implant survivorship with the Biomet uncemented implants (n= 5010) is 99.1%.

 

Survivorship continues to improve with experience. The standard for “excellent survivorship” in Total Hip Replacement (THR) is >95% 10-year implant survivorship for patients of mean age 70. However, reported registry results for THR in patients under 50 is only 80% 10-year implant survivorship. It can be seen here that 10-year survivorship for our current implant, the uncemented (UC) Biomet ReCap, is at 99.1%. Implant survivorship does not drop off in our younger patients with HRA as it does for THR. THR lasts reasonably well in older folks for whom golf and walking are considered an “active” lifestyle, but they are not adequate for younger patients with a sporting lifestyle.

Women have historically had higher implant failure rate with HRA than men. This is primarily due to two factors: Dysplasia is more common in women, which carries higher failure rate with any type of hip replacement. Also, women usually require smaller bearing sizes, which have been more prone to wear failure in HRA from edge loading resulting in metallosis. Both of these problems have been solved at our practice and are reflected in our improved results in women. The last wear failure was from a procedure performed in August 2009; the last acetabular failure due to dysplasia was from a procedure performed in December 2007. The latest 10-year implant survivorship calculation finds men and women are now equal at 99%, which is far better than the reported registry value of 80% 10-year survivorship for young men and women with THR.

The implant survivorship data reported here far surpasses joint implant registry data from Britain, Sweden and Australia (for both THR and HRA) where these types of data are kept. These are publicly available and you can get access them online for free. Registry data can be thought of as average surgeon implant survivorship for purposes of a benchmark. But the most important factor in the outcome of any operation is individual surgeon skill. It is hard to know at which level a surgeon you are considering can perform. Anecdotal reports from a few patients or reputation are a poor substitute for data. Few surgeons provide written data such as I do.

Remember, implant survivorship is not the only factor that needs to be considered in deciding between THR and HRA. Other proven advantages of HRA are better functional outcome, less residual thigh pain, fewer dislocations, bone preservation, and longer life expectancy.

After all revisions, reoperations, and complications are accounted for there are still approximately 2% of patients who experience moderate unexplained residual pain after HRA. The risk of moderate residual unexplained pain in THR is 20%. This means we cannot determine a specific reason why they are not satisfied. Some may have referred pain from their back or soft tissue problems we are unable to diagnose. In a THR thigh pain from the stem is a common cause of residual pain. Residual pain may just represent the fact that HRA does not result in a normal hip. Because we can’t diagnose a cause, we don’t recommend revision surgery. If a revision is still performed, sometimes a patient improves, but most often they subject themselves to the risk of revision surgery and do not improve.

There is no measurable difference in the speed of recovery between THR and HRA.

We include three distinct groups for your review. The first was the Corin Hybrid from 2001-2005, the next was the Biomet Hybrid 2005-2007, and the final is the Biomet uncemented which we have used since 2007. You can see that results improve with consecutive each group. It is difficult to prove the exact reasons for improvement. Some surgeons advocate patient selection to improve their results (perform total hips instead of resurfacing on higher risk patients). I disagree with this approach. I have focused on studying the root causes of hip resurfacing complications and then modifying both techniques and implants to improve results in all patients. My goal is to allow all patients to realize the advantages of hip resurfacing. The rising survivorship curves in unselected patients prove that my philosophy works.

km2020 byimplant

  • Survivorship curve for all three implants, as of 2020. Note that the survivorship y-axis begins at 80%. There have been no instances of adverse metal wear in cases after 2009.

km2019 byagegroup

  • Above is the survivorship curve separate by age group for our uncemented ReCap group. Note the y-axis start at 90%. There is no difference in survivorship or raw failure rate based on age. While many centers report greater rates of failure in younger patients, that is not the case at our practice. We pride ourselves on provide a durable arthroplasty option for young patients who wish to maintain their high levels of activity.

km2019 bygender

  • Many hip replacement surgeons exclude women from receiving surgery because of poor published results. We, however, elected to find out WHY implants in women were underperforming and to CORRECT implant design and surgical technique instead of excluding women from surgery. After implementation of new protocols from 2007-2009, outcomes in women at our center have improved drastically (see our  publication section ).

2. Total Hip Replacement

The need for hip replacement continues to shrink as the complication rate for resurfacing falls. Hip resurfacing started out as a temporizing measure for younger patients to preserve bone. Most surgeons still prefer plastic bearing hip replacement to hip resurfacing. My first choice is usually hip resurfacing. In the few patients that are not good resurfacing candidates, my next choice used to be large metal bearing total hip replacement. Hip dislocations are completely eliminated by this choice. Other surgeons are reluctant to use these implants because of a fear of adverse metal wear related failure (AWRF). This has been a common failure mode among some brands (DePuy ASR recall 2010). But this a rare problem with the Biomet design. Because of decreased demand for large metal bearing THR Zimmer-biomet has discontinued the sale of this implant several years ago. I now use the best alternative which is a dual mobility ceramic/polyethelene bearing which is nearly as good. With the large metal bearing Biomet Magnum THR I have a 97% 15-year implant survivorship (for patients average age 60) with no dislocations, which far surpasses registry benchmarks ( approximately 92% 10-year survivorship for a similar age group). Also a standard total hip carries a 3% dislocation risk and a 1-5% trunion corrosion and requires permanent restrictions. I generally perform hip replacement in the very obese (BMI >35), patients older than 70 years, those with severe osteoporosis, or severe bone deformities.

Failures in 211 cases with up to 16 year follow-up:

  • Failure of acetabular ingrowth                   2
  • Trunion corrosion                                       2
  • AWRF due to acetabular malposition        1
  • Late infection                                             1
  • 2.8% raw failure rate (16 years postoperative)

3. Revision of Hip Resurfacing

More complicated than primary surgery. Our results are very close to those of our primary resurfacing cases with a 96% 8-year implant survivorship. Our most problematic group is revision for loose acetabular components. Other surgeons have had extremely poor results in revision for adverse wear related failures (AWRF). Using an approach of limited debridement and repositioning of new metal bearing acetabular components in more ideal inclination angles, we have had a 100% success rate in this problematic group.

 

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1013 Lake Murray Blvd.
Irmo, SC 29063

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1910 Blanding St.
Columbia, SC 29201

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