Julie Stempel, lives in Covington, Louisiana, just outside New Orleans. The path that led her to have hip replacement  surgery at Parkwest Medical Center is both serendipitous and fortuitous.
The wife and mother had endured constant knee and thigh pain for several years, which had
recently intensified. As a restaurant manager, Stempel is on her feet during the day. Her two sons are active in sports, so the family is constantly on the go. At one point Stempel says the pain in her knees got to the point where it hurt to walk.

Julie with her family on the baseball field
Julie Stempel is back to her active lifestyle after hip replacement surgery. She is pictured with husband Jeff and their sons Owen, age 13, and Nolan, age 10.

Visits to several orthopedists led her  to receive cortisone (steroid) shots in her knees, giving her temporary relief. Because she  had cartilage damage from playing sports for many years, knee replacement surgery was suggested. Before she did, a friend who is a physical therapist recommended that she see Parkwest orthopedic surgeon Herman Botero, DO, who is well-known for performing minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery. Dr. Botero has had patients travel from out-of-state for this type of procedure. Stempel was desperate for a remedy that would make her knee pain cease. She consulted her son’s travel baseball schedule and noted a planned trip to Pigeon Forge. She was able to make an appointment with Dr. Botero on the same trip.

In the Nick of Time

Stempel is grateful she came to Dr. Botero when she did. After he examined her and ran  several diagnostic tests, he deter- mined it was not her knees that were the problem, but her hips.  An undiagnosed case of hip dysplasia was causing arthritis in both her hips. The dysplasia, or shallow sockets of the hip joints, was causing pain in her knees and  thighs.

Dr. Botero Head shot
Herman Botero, DO

Dr. Botero confirms, “Sometimes knee pain is generated from the hips. It’s about getting the
right diagnosis to get to the right solution.” In Stempel’s case of hip dysplasia, he compares the wearing down of cartilage in her hip joints to the tires on a car, which will wear out faster if the car’s tires aren’t properly aligned or balanced.

Dr. Botero explains, “Because this patient had hip dysplasia from birth, the cartilage in the hip socket endured higher force over time, so the patient has more wear and tear at an earlier age than expected when compared to a normal hip.” Stempel recalls, “Once I met Dr. Botero, I knew I had ended up in his office for a reason.  His bedside manner, his ability to get to the problem — he is just amazing. I can’t say  enough. He has changed my life.”

Dr. Botero administered a cortisone shot in each of Stempel’s hips that he anticipated would alleviate her knee pain for about six weeks. Stempel says, “The shots absolutely worked. It proved to me the pain was coming from my hips. Going that long without any pain solidified for me that I needed  surgery. “I never would have thought I’d need hip replacement surgery at age 40,” Stempel says.  “After the shots, I felt what life was like with no pain. I knew I would have a better  quality of life, both for myself and for my family. He made my quality of life a priority, and
I am so grateful.”

Left Side, Right Side

Stempel made the trip to Knoxville in September 2019 for a total replacement of her left hip. She recalls with amazement, “I had the basic discomfort you feel right after surgery, but my knee pain was immediately non-existent.”

The working mother went home to heal and returned to work after a few weeks. It wasn’t long before the pain in her right knee caused her to stop in her tracks. She phoned Dr. Botero’s office to schedule hip replacement surgery on her right side. Coincidentally, her surgeries were one year apart to the day. Having finished her supervised physical therapy sessions, Stempel has been cleared for all types of exercise and is feeling great. She enjoys working up a sweat on her stability bike at  home. “I have a high threshold for pain,” she says with a laugh, “but when you tolerate pain for that long and just get used to it and then it’s gone, it’s such a huge relief. My husband just commented recently how I can walk so much faster!”

Life-Changing

Stempel shares, “The staff at Parkwest was amazing. My experience there was top-notch,”
she says. “The nine-hour drive was not fun, but the pay- off was worth it. “The change I have had in my life because of this experience and because of Dr. Botero – I can’t  quite explain how much better I feel both mentally and physically. I would do it again in a  heartbeat.”
For more information about orthopedic services at Parkwest Medical Center, call 374-PARK
or visit TreatedWell.com/orthopedics.

About Hip Replacement Surgery

Total hip replacement is usually done when severe damage from arthritis or injury has made it
difficult to perform daily activities. During the procedure, the femoral head and acetabulum (joints known commonly as the “ball and  socket”) are replaced with two artificial components called prostheses. The surgeon accesses the joint capsule and removes any damaged cartilage or bone, then reshapes the socket and  secures the prosthesis in place. Once both components are in place, the surgeon verifies range of  motion and closes the incision. Within six to 12 weeks following surgery will resume their normal recreational activities.

Considering Joint Replacement Surgery?

Consider Parkwest: A Leader in Orthopedics and Spine Care

Thousands of patients trust us each year for orthopedic surgeries including joint replacements,
fracture repairs, arthroscopies, and orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgeries. Our physicians
have access to the latest technology including robotics and advanced imaging to help provide
outstanding care to our community.

Our surgeons specialize in the following orthopedic techniques:

  •  Minimally invasive hip and knee replacement surgery
  • Robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery
  • Spine surgery
  • GPS-guided shoulder replacement surgery
  • Fracture repair

For more information about the Joint Replacement Center or a physician referral, call (865)
374-PARK.