Bob Kopac of Poughkeepsie, NY, was running about 70 miles a week in 1995 when he began to experience a terrible pain in his hip. After going to a local hospital for an MRI and being told his hips were normal, Mr. Kopac visited a number of different physicians over the next few years, trying to find someone who would be able to diagnose his problem.
Finally, a local physician – who previously had practiced at Hospital for Special Surgery – recommended he have an MRI at HSS. “It was really frustrating that no one was able to tell me what was wrong during those three years,” he says. “When I finally came to HSS, they were able to help me.”
An MRI performed at HSS revealed that Mr. Kopac had been born with acetabular dysplasia, a condition in which the hips are partially formed, and this had led to severe osteoarthritis. Since a torn labrum was responsible for some of his pain, Mr. Kopac had a procedure at HSS to remove the labrum, allowing him to postpone an inevitable hip replacement surgery for a few years.
In 2002, Robert L. Buly, MD replaced Mr. Kopac’s right hip, and in 2004 replaced his left hip. Mr. Kopac says that the logistics of having surgery 90 miles from his home never deterred him from coming to HSS. “The quality of the care and the quality of the hospital was worth doing it there,” he explains.
Over the next few years, Mr. Kopac returned to Special Surgery several more times. Frank P. Cammisa, Jr., MD performed a discectomy to relieve the pain that he had been experiencing as a result of a herniated disc, and the next year, Robert N. Hotchkiss, MD removed a lipoma, or fatty tissue deposit, from his hand. He has also referred others to HSS, and says that the procedures his friends and colleagues have undergone with Dr. Buly and Dr. Cammisa were both “great successes.”
Now Mr. Kopac is back to running, biking, and exercising on the elliptical trainer – all pain-free. He and his wife, Lynne, are both involved with The Marathon Project, which pairs adult running mentors with at-risk teenagers, with the goal of preparing them to run a full or half marathon.
“I was very impressed with the hospital – everything was top-notch, everything was first rate,” he says. “It is a tremendous hospital, and I believe in what they are doing.”