By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hip replacement isn’t just for elderly people anymore. Ukee Washington is among a growing number of younger active people who need the surgery. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has details on Ukee’s surgery.

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It’s a metal and plastic ball and socket. A new state of the art hip joint that’s going to get Ukee back in the game, out of pain.

Doctors with Rothman at Riddle Hospital say the surgery on May 29th went well, and Ukee’s new left hip looks great.
Before the surgery the joint that’s supposed to be smooth, was a jagged mess.

“Ukee had osteoarthritis, which is inflammation of the joint, which disrupts the cartilage and bone. He had loss of motion and strength and pain with activity,” said Steve DiRocco, a Physician’s Assistant with Rothman at Riddle Hospital.

“They say wait as long as you can until it affects your quality of life, but I just knew Stephanie, I knew over the last year it was time,” said Ukee.

The achy hip was caused by years of sports, including running hurdles in high school and playing golf. It’s a problem shared by millions of baby boomers. Being active can come with a price.

“This is a wear and tear process. So as people continue to be active the joint wears out. And as joints wear out it causes more pain and loss of motion,” said DiRocco.

Ukee was hospitalized for two-and-a-half days after the surgery, shorter than usual because he had what’s called an anterior lateral approach, with a smaller incision in the front of the hip.

“It allows the patient to recover slightly faster. It spares the muscle and causes less dislocation following surgery,” said DiRocco.

During the surgery, done with general anesthesia, the old joint is removed. Then the new artificial socket, shaped like a cup, is fitted into the pelvis. The ball attached to a stem is placed into the hollowed out thigh bone.

“From the moment I was wheeled out of surgery to my room to this point now I didn’t have any pain what so ever. I had achiness,” said Ukee.

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Ukee says his hip improves every day.

Generally people recover and are able to return to work, depending on what they do, in four to eight weeks after hip replacement surgery. For Ukee it’s been nine weeks.

Six weeks after the hip replacement surgery, Ukee was back at Riddle for a check up.

“I feel great. I feel absolutely amazing. It was something I needed to do,” said Ukee.

Stahl asked DiRocco, “All of us know Ukee on tv and Ukee our friend, what’s Ukee the patient been like?

DiRocco replied, “He’s been great. And like I said, he’s been working very hard. He’s very determined to recover, and he is a model patient.”

Doctors say physical therapy following hip replacement is critical.

Related Links:

Hip Replacement Surgery Information-

Activities After Hip Replacement-

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Stephanie Stahl