Historic hip surgery helps man return to work

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Two years ago, Byron Murphy was shocked to discover he needed major surgery to treat crippling hip pain that would eventually force him to stop working.

“Who needs a hip replacement in your 30s or 40s?” he said, recalling the journey that led to him being the recipient of a historic procedure at Epworth Geelong hospital.

Mr Murphy, now 41, this year became the first person in regional Victoria to undergo hip replacement surgery with Mako robot technology.

Performed by orthopaedic surgeon Mr Michael Galvin, the operation was originally due to take place in January but was pushed back due to COVID-19 restrictions on elective surgery in Victoria.  

That followed another delay for Mr Murphy, who was first told the replacement was not covered by his private health insurance, so he had to upgrade and then serve a waiting period.

“I worked as long as I could, but it became too unbearable to sit in the car to drive to work, so I have been on sick leave since late November 2021,” said the Wandana Heights resident, who had previously been able to walk up to five kilometres a day before his hip deteriorated.

He is now back to restricted duties at his job and hopes to resume full-time work soon.

“I am undergoing weekly physiotherapy and hydrotherapy at Epworth Geelong and I am walking about 20 minutes a day,” Mr Murphy said.

“I just really appreciate how supportive work has been in giving me the time to recover.”

Epworth HealthCare had already introduced Mako technology to its Richmond and Eastern hospitals in Melbourne – the first robot was brought in four years ago – but in 2022 Geelong became the first facility in the region to be able to offer its benefits to patients.

It has since been used in 13 other surgeries at Epworth Geelong – including four other hip replacements and nine total knee replacements – with orthopaedic surgeons including Mr Nathan Donovan, Dr Liam Halliday, Mr Andrew Thomson and Mr Andrew Wilkinson also expected to use the robot.

Read more: Robot surgery benefits coming to Geelong

Read more: Five years serving the Geelong community

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