Columbus twins undergo the same surgery months apart, praises hospital

Columbus twins undergo the same surgery months apart, praises hospital

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - St. Francis Hospital claims new advances in total hip replacement surgery has revolutionized the way they perform the surgery and how quickly patients get back on their feet.

News Leader 9's Brittany Dionne spent the day with two recent patients who dares anyone to beat them in a dance contest.

Columbus twins Annette Kocian  and Gwenette Garner do everything together.

"In high school, we use to switch on dates. Oh that was fun! [Laughs] and they didn't know," the sisters laughed.

From pulling pranks on dates, to walking, gardening, and golfing, Kocian and Garner say their days are filled with lots of activities. For some, it may be difficult to tell the sisters apart. They say they are constantly in sync, even when battling health issues.

"I couldn't get up. I couldn't garden. I couldn't walk for a very long time," Garner said.  "Sure enough when I had my x-rays they said I had arthritis in my hips."

"I had to stop playing golf for a while, because I could not swing.  I had x-rays and found out that I had arthritis and I was in pain," Kocian added.

In September 2013, Garner went to St. Francis Hospital in Columbus to have a total hip replacement.  Two months later her big sister by eight minutes had the same surgery.

"We did,' exclaimed Garner.

"Yep!," Kocian added. "Thank goodness for Dr. Zimmerman at St. Francis Hospital."

Dr. George Zimmerman showed us how a new special surgical table is used for hip replacement surgery works. Those in need of hip replacements suffer from severe pain that limits their daily activities.

Dr. Zimmerman says the surgical table allows a patient's body to be moved in many directions. The movement helps aid in accuracy and recovery.

"I believe we're the only one's in town that have the table. The benefits of the table allow me to do the procedure much easier," Dr. Zimmerman said.

The the way the incision is made leads to a speedy recovery, according to doctor Zimmerman.

"We don't damage muscle. We don't traumatize the muscle. We're able to manipulate the leg around so that we can get the implants in," Dr. Zimmerman explained.

In both surgeries he used an Anterior incision.

"The anterior approach is a means of going through a muscular plane. We don't release muscle. We don't damage the muscle or traumatize the muscle," Zimmerman said.

He explains how the table helps advance the surgery.

"We're able to make an approach to the front part of the hip, separate the muscle plane, dislocate the hip, and then cut the  femoral head off. With the table we are able to manipulate the leg around do that we can get in to put the cup in the Acetabulum," Dr. Zimmerman shared. "I think that's the key to this procedure, being able to put the parts in under x-ray, knowing exactly where they needed to go."

The surgery takes about an hour and a half to complete.Dr. Zimmerman says patients can be back up on their feet in only a few weeks. He says the table's benefits are worth it's weight in gold, "it's costs between $80,000 and $100,000."

"We love life! We love every moment. We wake straight up like Choo Choo trains! And we're off," the twins exclaimed.

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