When Jim Leen was told he needed a hip replacement about 5 years ago, he didn’t have time to think of himself. As the primary caregiver for his now-late wife, she was his focus, not his hip.

Jim purchased a brace to help him get by, but he knew if he wasn’t proactive on his own health, the challenges would likely catch up to him sooner than later.

“I was feeling a little pain and I realized I was going to be 83 years old and didn’t want my hip to break going up or down the stairs,” he said. “I knew it was time to do something about it.”

Jim came across a newspaper ad for Dr. Glen Rudolph at Rainy Lake Medical Center (RLMC) and that he was going to start doing hip replacement surgeries in International Falls. Because Jim lives alone, this was good news.

On Aug. 22, 2023, Jim was the first patient to have an anterior hip replacement surgery at RLMC.

“I joked with Dr. Rudolph that if I’m going to be the first one, it better be good because I’m so well known,” Jim said with a laugh. “Turns out, it was better than good – it was great.”

With the anterior hip replacement approach, the procedure is done on the front of the hip. Surgeons complete the procedure through a small incision, about 2-5 inches long, as patients lie on their backs. In addition, the muscle is moved aside as the procedure is completed.

With any hip replacement, the focus is getting patients back to normal activities as quickly as possible. Thanks to the smaller incision and the ability to preserve muscle, the anterior approach allows patients a faster recovery.

Jim is a testament to that.

After four weeks, he could walk 1 mile using a walker. Two weeks after that, he downgraded to only using a cane. Now, he walks unassisted and has never felt better.

“I feel great,” Jim said. “There is no pain and I’m all shiny and new. I even have my full golf swing back.”

Growing emotional, Jim gave praise to Dr. Rudolph, Marissa Ross, RN, and the rest of his surgical team for the care they provided during his surgery and recovery. While Jim doesn’t have any family in town, he said the staff stepped in as his adopted family making him feel loved and cared for. 

“I would highly recommend getting any surgery done in town that you can,” he said. “The staff is truly wonderful, the services are state-of-the-art and best of all, you get to be at home.”

While, Dr. Glen Rudolph of Orthopedic Associates performs the procedure, patients who are interested in learning more about RLMC’s anterior hip replacements start by scheduling a consultation with Rio Silvernail, orthopedic PA. Call Rainy Lake Clinic at 218-283-5503 to schedule a consultation.

About Rainy Lake Medical Center

Rainy Lake Medical Center stands at the forefront of delivering exceptional medical services to the Borderland communities. With a comprehensive range of offerings, including emergency care, surgery, cardiology rehab and diagnostics, chemo and infusion therapy, family medicine clinics, radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, therapy services, sleep studies, laboratory services, respiratory therapy, and orthopedics, RLMC continues to excel in providing compassionate care for all. RLMC is also dedicated to offering both acute and skilled nursing services through its swing bed care program. For more information about RLMC, visit: https://rainylakemedical.com/

Jim Leen