Young Dad Walks Again After Life-Changing Hip Surgery

A cancer survivor and young dad, Kyle Martin-McGowan defeated leukemia, but the very same treatments that saved his life took a tremendous toll on his body.

“A trial drug gave me a series of heart attacks and then heart failure,” Martin-McGowan said. “And I developed a vascular necrosis from all the steroids I had to take, which caused my hips to collapse.”

His hip condition deteriorated to the point that he needed a wheelchair to move. He needed hip replacement, but given his medical history, surgeon after surgeon turned him down, saying the surgery was too risky. “I begged and begged for it,” Martin-McGowan said. “I told them, ‘I’ve got 21-month-old twins, I need this surgery.’ But no one would do it.”

New Hope After Being Turned Down by Multiple Surgeons

Just when  he was about to give up hope, Martin-McGowan was referred to orthopedic surgeon Houston Braly, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Affiliated with Memorial Hermann Joint Centers, Dr. Braly is also the father of a young child. He knew a successful hip replacement could be life-changing for Martin-McGowan.

“Going through the medical risk factors, I was very concerned as I didn’t want to hurt him. But I factored in his young twins. I was the father of a new baby girl at the time, and I said, ‘I cannot see myself not being able to care for her, getting on the floor and playing with her.’ That helped solidify the decision to perform the surgery,” Dr. Braly said.

Dr. Braly took comfort in knowing he would be operating at a Memorial Hermann Joint Center, in a hospital setting with multiple specialists on hand, including Martin-McGowan’s cardiologist.

“His cardiologist was instrumental. Before the surgery, we talked about everything, and he was there the day of the surgery in case anything happened. The surgery went well and Kyle was up and walking that day,” Dr. Braly said.

A Team Approach Helps Shorten Recovery Time

Dr. Braly credits the Joint Center’s team approach for delivering successful outcomes like Martin-McGowan’s.

“It’s not just the surgeon. It’s a whole team educating the patient early on. It’s our nurse navigator calling the patient to answer any questions. I give patients my cellphone number and encourage them to call me if they have any other questions. Our physical therapists are terrific. The facilities are awesome,” he said.

Dr. Braly said advances in anesthesia and pain management help patients get back on their feet in record time following hip and knee replacements.

“The intra-articular anti-inflammatory injections that we perform, a faster surgery, the implants—there are a whole mix of factors that we employ to help get the patient up and walking, usually within four hours of surgery. Nowadays, many patients can go home the same day.”

Martin-McGowan said he was up walking the first day.

“I was putting my socks on and was able to do regular day activities within about five to six weeks. It was very speedy.”

Now Herding Both His Twins and His Cattle

A cattle trader from Oklahoma, Martin-McGowan is now back on his ranch, herding his twins and his livestock, thanks to his new hips and Dr. Braly.

Asked what advice he would give to someone contemplating hip replacement surgery, Martin-McGowan said, “The sooner the better. I put mine off and I regret it more than anything because it’s more relief than you’ll ever know.”

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Ali Vise