A hip replacement patient’s longtime passion steers him toward a quick recovery

November 17, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

Oleg Ponomaryov grew up a product of sailing. As a child, he loved coasting along a river in Siberia with his father who was captain of a ship. Into adulthood, sailing remained his favorite pastime as he navigated the unpredictability of the waters — sometimes peaceful, sometimes rough — and always an adventure. Ponomaryov, now a 71-year-old resident of Aurora, looks forward to sailing on the Black Sea in the summer with friends.

A few years ago, the otherwise healthy and tough-minded Ponomaryov started experiencing pain in his hip due to arthritis. He thought he could muscle through it. But regular activities and functions became increasingly limited. He started to walk with a limp and had difficulty using stairs.

Ponomaryov endured three years of pain that worsened so much he didn’t think it was possible to get better again.

Although historically skeptical of doctors and medicine, Ponomaryov knew he needed help as the hip pain worsened by the day. After visiting several healthcare facilities, doctors and physical therapists, it wasn’t until he met hip and knee replacement/revision specialist Ryan Sullivan, M.D., and team, that he immediately felt comfortable, trusting and hopeful.

After non-surgical treatments resulted in little improvement, Dr. Sullivan recommended an anterior hip replacement, a minimally invasive way to perform hip replacement surgery.

Dr. Sullivan recalls, “Oleg did very well — he had surgery in the morning and was discharged home that very evening. At his two-week post-op appointment, he was not taking any pain medications, and was not using any sort of assistive device like a cane or walker. By six weeks post-op he was feeling 100%, walking normally and quickly without any pain or limitations. His remarkable recovery was driven in large part by his desire to get back into sailing — he is truly an inspiration.”

HDHero Oleg and Dr Sullivan cropsmall

Pictured above: Dr. Sullivan with Ponomaryov

Ponomaryov speaking in Russian through his daughter Alina Ponomaryov who interprets for him, remarks, “I’m so blessed to have met Dr. Sullivan and undergo anterior hip replacement. Last summer, just five months after surgery, I was able to sail again! I almost always forget that I even had surgery — except when my artificial hip sets off alarms at airport security!”

Alina adds, “My dad is a strong character who rarely experiences fear, but right before the surgery he was nervous about the anesthesia and how he’d feel afterwards. But somehow after surgery he awoke happy and ready to recover!”

“It helped that the entire process — from the initial phone calls, insurance verification, pre-appointments, day of surgery and follow-ups — was so smooth and every staff member we encountered was pleasant and incredibly capable. Everything was under control, which made my dad feel at ease and confident in the care he was receiving. It was a great experience,” she says.

Ponomaryov’s experiences on the sometimes-rough waters have helped him cultivate strength within and a readiness for anything. He advises, “In life, just like at sea, you have to go every which way. Overcoming challenges by being adaptable, positive and strong helps us gain a sense of perseverance which we can apply toward the choppy waters we’re faced with throughout our lives.”

Learn more about treatments for hip issues at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

To learn more about Dr. Sullivan or to schedule an appointment online, visit his online profile.

The orthopedic team of experts at Edward-Elmhurst Medical Groups-Orthopedics provides exceptional orthopedic, sports medicine and podiatry services for patients of all ages. We use the least invasive treatments necessary to help you get back to the activities you enjoy, as quickly as possible. Learn more.

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