Follow Through

Cozadds keep moving with help from Fort Sanders Regional

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Phil Cozadd (right) strikes a casual pose as he sits in a golf cart with his wife, Lyn, but it’s a pose that would have been impossible before anterior hip replacement at FSRMC.

How do you respond when your orthopedic surgeon guesses that you’re not very good at golf? Phil Cozadd, 75, took that diagnosis in stride, because the doctor was right. Paul Yau, MD, could tell that the Tellico Village resident had trouble turning at the hip. Yau surmised that would affect a golf game. Phil and his wife have been active for years and have taken great care of their health, which has allowed them to enjoy many adventures in retirement. But last fall the arthritis in Phil’s hip began to bother him more than it ever had before.

Then on Dec. 31, 2015, the couple set off on a hike, took a wrong turn, and ended up trekking nine miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “The next day he could barely walk,” Lyn Cozadd says.

The couple began the process of elimination to find a nonsurgical treatment that would cure Phil’s pain. There wasn’t one. When he was told it was time to seek out a surgeon for a hip replacement, he didn’t argue.

The Cozadds had an advantage in that Lyn had been a board member for a community hospital in the city where they lived before retirement. She knew what she wanted in a hospital and in a surgeon for her husband, and she knew how to find it. Research and intuition led her to Dr. Yau, a board certified physician who specializes in replacement of hips and knees. His specialty practice keeps him current with the latest surgical techniques and advances in orthopedic care. They also decided Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center was the best option for Phil’s procedure. Dr. Yau replaced Phil’s hip on April 27 of this year.

“It just couldn’t have been a nicer experience from the very beginning,” Phil says, “from going to see Dr. Yau for our first appointment, to the valet parking, to everybody in the hospital, just all the way down the line. It was really terrific.”

Rapid recovery

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Phil Cozadd was back on the golf course for nine holes just three weeks after hip replacement surgery at FSRMC.

The Cozadds had done their homework, and knew they wanted a surgeon and a hospital that would accommodate a very specific type of procedure. “Dr. Yau does the anterior hip replacement, and that was the only thing Phil and I were going to entertain,” Lyn explains.

“The anterior approach to hip replacement allows surgery to be performed in a space between muscles and tendons,” Yau explains. “Newer instruments allow placement of tried and true implants in a less traumatic fashion, resulting in an easier recovery, and a hip that feels more natural.” Phil says the pain was minimal, and when you ask the Cozadds how Phil’s recovery went, Lyn speaks up first. “What recovery?” she jokes. “He was on the golf course in three weeks.” Phil interjects, “That was nine holes, and five weeks after surgery I played 18 holes.”

Covenant Health Connectivity

The Cozadds also give a lot of credit to Fort Loudoun Medical Center’s physical therapists. Because Fort Loudoun is a member of Covenant Health, it was easy to make the transition from the hospital in Knoxville to therapy that was closer to home. One particular appointment with Dr. Yau in Knoxville resulted in the surgeon personally demonstrating stretching exercises he wanted Phil to do in the next phase of therapy. When Lyn demonstrated those same exercises to the therapists, a new protocol was created within minutes to get the job done. While Phil is still working on his golf game, his hip is one thing that doesn’t hold him back on the golf course. He and Lyn are also hiking as much as 20 miles a week.

It’s important to note that Phil was in good physical condition before surgery. That increases the odds of a successful recovery process, and anyone considering joint replacement surgery should keep weight under control, eat right and get plenty of exercise. “We had a wonderful, wonderful experience with Fort Sanders Regional, and I can’t say enough about Dr. Yau,” Lyn says. Phil smiles in agreement, then says simply, “It’s nice to have a new part.”



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