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Mary Lou Retton

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Mary Lou Retton

"The next time, I won't wait so long. Biomet changed my life!"

Approximately six years ago, Mary Lou Retton began experiencing pain in her left hip. As a world-renowned gymnast, Mary Lou had no idea she had been born with hip dysplasia, an anatomic abnormality. Her performances during the 1984 Olympic Games had earned Mary Lou five medals, the greatest number of medals won by any athlete that year and placed her as the first American woman to win the All Around Gold Medal in women's gymnastics. Dealing with hip pain in recent years had become Mary Lou's newest challenge, severely limiting her active lifestyle.

When the pain began, Mary Lou visited her general practitioner, who prescribed medication. Then, approximately two years ago, Mary Lou decided to seek the advice of a specialist, Houston orthopedic surgeon Brian S. Parsley, M.D. After reviewing results from her diagnostic workup, Dr. Parsley stated, "Mary Lou, there's no way around it. You need a hip replacement." Mary Lou replied that she just wasn't ready yet. Dr. Parsley responded, "You'll be back."

It wasn't the fear of surgery that concerned Mary Lou. After all, she had been through various other surgeries over the years and had even undergone a knee procedure six weeks prior to her participation in the Olympics. As she contemplated hip surgery, she realized it was the fear of the unknown that worried her. What would be the outcome? Would she be able to work out? What about range of motion?

Another year passed before Mary Lou went back to see Dr. Parsley. The constant pain had become unbearable. Mary Lou Retton had come to the realization that the combination of her hip dysplasia and the effects of performing an estimated 150,000 vaults during her career had resulted in the need for total hip replacement surgery. She was now psychologically prepared to proceed.

Mary Lou communicated to Dr. Parsley her desire to move forward with the surgery, with the hope of returning to her normal activities, including her workout schedule. At the age of 37, Mary Lou was not the average total hip replacement patient. With her high physical activity level, she wasn't even the average young total hip replacement patient. Dr. Parsley knew that if Mary Lou wanted to return to an active lifestyle, she would need a technologically advanced hip system that could provide excellent range of motion and a low risk of dislocation. He would need to contact Biomet.

Dr. Parsley performed Mary Lou's total hip replacement procedure on June 24, 2005. Three months following surgery, Mary Lou received the green light to begin an exercise routine. In addition to regaining her range of motion, she was simply thrilled about getting her life back to normal. More importantly, Mary Lou felt blessed to be able to rejoin in the family's activities with her husband and their four daughters, ages 11, 9, 6 and 4. Summarizing her experience, Mary Lou reflected, "With dysplasia in both hips, some day I'll need another Biomet hip. The next time, I won't wait so long. Biomet changed my life!"

This article is meant solely as a human interest story and is not meant to constitute medical advice.

While the patient in this story is a true joint replacement recipient, her results are not necessarily typical, indicative, or representative of all joint replacement patients. Joint replacements have been used successfully in achieving restored mobility to many patients. However, as with any implanted device, there are factors affecting performance which ultimately result in variable outcomes, including levels of mobility and pain. These factors include, but are not limited to, the patient�s pre and post-operative health conditions, weight, activity level, and adherence to instructions regarding the use of the affected joint. Due to these variables, it is not possible to predict specific results or patient satisfaction. For additional information regarding joint replacement, refer to the patient risk information located at the top of this page and talk to your orthopedic surgeon.

The persons named in this article have consented to be named and have given Biomet, Inc. the exclusive right to use their personal and medical information for educational purposes.

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