Jimmy Mac Capps has always lived his life fast and out loud.
An avid traveler and woodsman, Capps has hunted and fished all over the world. He’s a certified deep sea diver and a motorcycle collector who has tested his skills on some of the most challenging raceways in America.
But over the years, a worsening pain in his lower back caused him to tap the brakes on his adventurous lifestyle and focus on addressing the pain that was hindering him from doing the activities he loves.
Jimmy Capps just weeks following his surgery“I’ve always been really active,” said Capps. “I was regional sales director at Kawasaki for more than 30 years, and before I retired in 2001 I was a Delta Platinum flyer traveling a 100,000 miles a year. I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve even ridden motorcycles on Carlsbad and Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, Calif.”
When the pain in his back got worse, his activity level slowed down even more, and Capps had to give up motorcycles and a lot of other activities that he enjoyed.
He decided to visit Greg Slappey, MD, FAAOS, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic and a member of the patient care team at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center
to determine the cause of his pain.
“I had been getting pain blocker injections for few months, but the pain was still there and started going down to my legs,” said Capps. “The doctor told me that he didn’t think that my pain was coming from my back or my knees, so he sent me to get a few X-rays and said that it looked like my hips were worn out. I sort of knew that I might need joint replacement surgery one day, and now I figured that it was probably long overdue.”
In consultation with his patient care team, Capps elected to undergo his first of two total anterior hip joint replacements
with the new Stryker Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton in September.
“When I found out that Tanner had a new joint replacement procedure and has earned a national joint replacement certification, it was a pretty easy decision where I was going to have it done,” said Capps.
“When Dr. Slappey came out to talk with me before my first surgery, he explained that the Mako system was very precise. He said the system was so precise in replacing joints and had such a high level of precision that after my surgery everything would be calibrated right, my pelvis would be balanced and both my legs would be back at the same length. I just thought that this was really some amazing technology.”
The Mako system is unique in the way the robotic technology uses live 3-D X-rays and computerized tomography (CT) scans to allow surgeons to perform robotic arm-assisted hip and knee replacement surgeries with a higher level of precision and more predictable patient outcome.
“The Mako system allows us to plan before his surgery exactly where we want to position the cup that replaces his hip socket,” said Dr. Slappey. “It also tells if the length of one leg is shorter or longer compared to the other so that during surgery we’ll have a plan to avoid imbalance. The system is a great piece of equipment and is going to allow us to have a more reproducible outcome for all of our patients.”
Dr. Slappey said that without the Mako technology, the accuracy of the joint replacement is based mainly on a surgeon’s experience with performing joint replacement procedures, and during the procedure there are many variables that the surgeon must take into account.
“Every patient is going to be different,” said Dr. Slappey. “Sometimes there are subtle changes in the way the patient is positioned on the table, or whether they have a curvature in their spine, or if they have a tilt in their pelvis. Any of those factors can affect the surgery. The Mako technology accounts for all of those factors and assist the surgeon in placing the cup exactly where we’ve planned for it to go.”
Dr. Slappey completed both of Capps’ hip replacement procedures within a few months of each other.
“Mr. Capps has a joint replacement that’s going to function well and will allow him to stand, sit, walk, jog and do the activities he enjoys the type of pain that he has endured for so long,” said Dr. Slappey. “He’ll have fewer precautions regarding his hip. He has a replacement hip that will feel so natural that he can forget about it.”
Even though only a few weeks have passed since Capps’ second surgery, he said he can already tell the difference. He said that his surgeries went so well that he was making great progress within hours after.
“I was up and walking around that same night of my surgery,” said Capps. “I was really impressed. There were some things I had to learn how to do, like the usual maneuvering up and down flights of stairs and getting out of bed, but the physical therapists and the nurses in the Tanner Joint Academy class work with you and teach you how to do all that.”
The Joint Academy program at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center teaches orthopedic surgery patients everything they need to know to prepare them for their procedure — including what to bring and what to wear on the day of their surgery, what to expect before, during and after surgery, information and pain management and medications, and even what type of therapy they will receive afterwards.
“I have never been to anything like Joint Academy before,” said Capps. “The nurses came in and told me everything I need to know. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to sit for too long, but they really did a great job of taking the time to walk us through it. And the amount of information we received in that hour was very well done.”
Capps said that overall the whole process and his experience at Tanner was seamless and hassle-free.
“I am so glad to tell people about my surgery and my experience at Tanner,” said Capps. “My friends and family come and they ask me about my surgery. When I tell them that I got my hips replaced at Tanner and that they are a nationally recognized joint replacement hospital, they say, ‘Really? I didn’t know that.’ They expect you go to some place in Atlanta if you’re going to have that kind of procedure done. But I tell them that you can get the same procedure done right here in Carrollton and it will be just as good if not better.”
Since his surgeries, Capps said that he’s already been getting back into the swing of his routine, and it’s only a matter of time before he is back on the road doing everything he loves.
“I consider myself truly blessed to be able to get out and do what I love again,” said Capps. “I’m 70 years old, and my goal is to be fully physically active again by the time I turn 71 in April. I’ve still got some recovering to do, but I’m getting back to where I was. And I’m looking forward to riding my motorcycles again.”
Learn more about the award-winning orthopedic care patients experience at Tanner Ortho and Spine Center