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May 31, 2023

Health Tips: Doctor lauds joint replacement, previews seminar

Dr. Allen Gustafson is an orthopedic surgeon with Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital who taught at an academic institution for a long time. He’s a specialist in joint replacement who works in Hollister along with a large practice in Southern California.

He’s done 8,000 to 9,000 joint replacements, and on July 26 at a special seminar in Hollister called “Get Back Into the Swing of Life” he will be the featured speaker.

“I will give an outline of hip and knee pain, what are some of the causes of it, besides arthritis, what you can do about it and to educate people basically how to get their lifestyle back to doing what they want to do,” he said.

Gustafson previewed the Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital seminar, set for 6-8 p.m. in the Diablo Room at Ridgemark Golf & Country Club.

Gustafson said joint replacement is the so-called “end point” for arthritis treatment, while the hospital will “have the team there” at the event.

“We’ll have physical therapists there. We’ll have nurses there. Patients who’ve had previous surgery, they will tell what it’s like and what the benefits are,” he said.

He said most people don’t understand arthritis.

“Some people have said the ultimate end point of arthritis is replacing that joint,” Gustafson said. “Some people have said the best surgeries you can have, of any surgery, is a hip and knee joint replacement.”

He said patients who are initially scared often end up saying they wish they would’ve done it sooner.

While hip and knee pain are the most common types of arthritis, there are various specialists to handle surgeries for shoulders, hands, the back and trauma.

“Those are the basic types of surgery that are available within orthopedics,” he said.

Gustafson said people can go “from a wheelchair” to being able to do basic activities like shopping and traveling.

“I had one patient here, I replaced his hip,” Gustafson said. “He climbed Mt. Whitney, twice, after I replaced his hip.”

Gustafson added how he enjoys practicing medicine at Hazel Hawkins.

“I’ve worked in huge hospitals and I like the kind of hometown atmosphere of the small-town hospital,” he said. “You feel like you can make a difference in a small town like this. And the quality of care here in this hospital, in my opinion, is as good as the university hospital care.”